Whenever you see an image taken from space looking back down on our Blue Marble, you see a swirl of blue, green and clouds. Those pesky clouds can get in the way of seeing what's happening below on the surface. It's a good thing the European Space Agency's Earth-watching Sentinel-2A satellite has plenty of patience. The ESA released a mosaic image of Africa on Tuesday that patches together Sentinel images into a cloud-free view of the entire continent.
The mosaic consists of 7,000 images, mostly taken over the course of five months between December 2015 and April 2016. The ESA says that "being able to capture the Tropics cloud-free over the five months is remarkable."
The ESA launched Sentinel-2A in 2015 and it will be joined by its twin, Sentinel-2B, next year. Sentinel focuses on collecting environmental data and imagery to help guide government policies on climate change, pollution and natural disasters. The first images released from the project in 2015 gave a striking view of the planet. The Africa mosaic adds another level to the satellite's impressive portfolio.