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Can you guess the subject of this colorful image? Is it ocean coral? Abstract art? A plant? Or perhaps a view through a microscope or a view from space?


If you guessed (view from space), that would be right.  Art, science, and technology intersect in colorful, fascinating ways, as this beautiful satellite image of the Lena River Delta in Siberia illustrates. In a strange display of abstract lines and colors, this image depicts Siberia’s largest river where it meets the Laptev Sea near the Arctic Ocean.

The Lena River Delta is an amazing 250 mile wide (400 kilometers) area that extends far beyond what is shown here. It includes the Lena Delta Wildlife Refuge, whose labyrinthine waterways provide essential protection for plant and animal species, including migratory swans, geese, songbirds, and birds of prey.

On the image – one inch (2.5 cm) represents approximately 15.1 miles (24.3 km). You can get a sense of the delta’s vastness. In the image you can also distinguish vegetation in (shades of green), sandy areas (shades of red), and water in (purples and blues).

Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) created this particular image purely for its beauty. Artists and scientists share an interest in creativity and imagination. Many scientists will tell you their best work is highly creative, just like painting, sculpting, or writing poetry.

[ The above image is a Landsat 7 satellite image and part of NASA’s Our Earth as Art Exhibit ]. Further reading can be found at: Our Earth as Art and the original PDF document in its entirety at: NASA.org/Lena River Delta