Last update: November 19th, 2019 at 6:00 am
On May 12, 2007, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured an image of fires in Honduras and Nicaragua, along with smoke-filled skies over the Pacific Ocean. Places where MODIS detected active fire are marked in red.
Although the skies are indeed smoky, the haze is somewhat exaggerated by the fact that the area was at the far left (western) edge of MODIS’ field of view in this image. At the edges of its wide field of view, MODIS’ viewing path, or line of sight to the surface, is longer than the viewing path in the center of the scene (directly below the sensor). Light reflected from the surface at the edges of the image has to travel a longer path through the atmosphere back to MODIS, which can exaggerate the appearance of haze.
During the dry season in Honduras (Northern Hemisphere winter and spring), accidental and intentional fires are common. Fires in this image may be agricultural—brush and field clearing—or forest fires.
Credit: NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center