Top Copernicus images and articles from 2018



To recap last year through eyes of satellites Copernicus Observer have selected 12 images for each month of 2018. Top 3 most read articles have been added as a bonus. This summary shows that the usage of these data gathered every day is not only useful for scientists and researchers but has a visual value as well.

Copernicus Sentinel satellites orbit the Earth high above us, collecting data about our planet day in and day out. Copernicus Sentinels allows our satellites to view Earth from a perspective previously limited to the select few who journeyed to orbit. This data is gathered every day and delivered to platforms that are open for everybody who has an interest.

January 2018. In honour of the Bulgarian Presidency of the European Union, one of the very first Sentinel-2 images of 2018 was the snowy Balkan mountain range (Стара планина) with Mt Botev peaking at 1,326m and the “valley of roses”.

February 2018. After heavy snowfall early last year, Sentinel-2 captured a great true-colours show of Paris, covered by a blanket of snow.

March 2018. Stephen Hawking, the British physicist and cosmologist, died at the age of 76 at his home in Cambridge in March 2018. As a tribute to him and his contribution to our understanding of the universe, a cloudless image of Cambridge as captured by Sentinel-2 in false colors was processed and shared by the Copernicus Support Office.

April 2018. Suspended matter ejected up to 20km into the Mediterranean because of the Ebro river floods in Spain. This is a Sentinel-2 image from 17 April, processed by Copernicus Academy member, Educación Forestal.

May 2018. A great postcard from Space captured in May: the meanders of the Dniepr river, North of Kiiv, acquired by Sentinel-2. This image was shared to mark the signing of the Copernicus Cooperation Arrangement between the European Commission and Ukraine.

June 2018. Ebro delta (Spain) as seen by Sentinel-2 in false colors, Sentinel-1 and its radar view, and Sentinel-3 Terrestrial Chlorophyll Index.

July 2018. Wildfires raged throughout Southern Europe back in July. A very intense fire affected the vicinity of Kineta, west of Athens. The heat produced by the blaze was so intense that Sentinel-2 could see a very large infrared hotspot.

August 2018. Beautiful image of the Alps captured in mid-August by Sentinel-3. Clouds look like snow in OLCI visible bands but looking closer with a Sentinel-2 image SWIR composite acquired on the same day (picture on the right) it is clear that some of the white patches are clouds.

September 2018. The Copernicus EMS Rapid Mapping component was activated at the request of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in preparation for Hurricane Florence’s possible landfall on the east coast of the US. Here is the eye of the mighty storm as seen by Sentinel-3 on 11 September.

October 2018. On 28 September 2018, a shallow, large earthquake struck in the neck of the Minahasa Peninsula, Indonesia, with its epicenter located in the mountainous Donggala Regency, Central Sulawesi. The Copernicus EMS Rapid Mapping team worked 24/7 to deliver damage grading maps following the deadly consequential tsunami that struck the Palu area. The Palu city map shows significant damage from the tsunami in the Balaroa area, among others, and in total close to 2,900 buildings were destroyed in 3 of the 5 Areas of Interest.

November 2018. By usage of machine learning tool, picture of Sentinel-1 spacecraft was “merged” with the “Starry Night” painting of Van Gogh. This image is a great demonstration of the power of Machine Learning and it captured the attention of many followers on social media.

December 2019. Sentinel-3 captured this magnificent image of a nearly cloudless Sicilia, in which you can see the ash plume from the Etna eruption. This image, processed by the Copernicus Support Office, resulted in one of the most successful tweets in the history of Copernicus with more than 120,000 views.

In 2018 Copernicus Observer reported weekly on numerous topics such as opportunities for entrepreneurs brought by the Copernicus Start-up programme, updates and developments of the Copernicus services etc. From more than 50 articles published last year these are the 3 most read articles in 2018:

  • Copernicus at your fingertips: 20 apps that you can use today! It is an article about apps that have made based on free data collected and shared by Copernicus. Read full article here;
  • Copernicus and the free & open source software community. Article is about community that provides an important link to these vast amounts of data to the end user by providing tools, plug-ins and libraries and it easier for the end users to use it – this community is organised under the umbrella of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). Read full article here;
  • +1.6 billion users for Copernicus. Editorial that was announcing the signing of Cooperation Arrangements with Brazil, Chile, Colombia and India. The article offers and in-depth insight of the importance of these agreements, that following those already in place with the United States and Australia, offers one-third of the world’s population access to free and open data and information. Read full article here.