Stunning high-resolution photo shows Earth's many hues

Recently emerged photograph of the planet taken aboard a Russian satellite shows the Earth in stunning color and detail.

Dara Kerr
Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.

Most people are familiar with NASA's quintessential photograph of Earth -- semi-transparent white clouds sweeping over beige and green swaths of land surrounded by dark blue water.

While that picture's mesmerizing, a photo has emerged showing the planet in even more color and detail, and according to some, it could be among the highest-resolution single pictures ever taken of Earth. It was shot by Russian scientists aboard their weather satellite, the Elektro-L (to download the photo and see a zoomable image, click here).

This photo shows hues of green and deep rust within the planet's land masses. It's one single image and is 121 megapixels, or 0.62 miles per pixel, according to James Drake, who processed the pictures. NASA's photo, on the other hand, isn't one straight shot, but an amalgamation of lots of photos.

To take the photo, Elektro-L scientists mixed four light wavelengths, three visible and one infrared, to capture the multitude of colors. Gizmodo reports that the dark rust color is vegetation and the hue comes out that way because of the combination of wavelengths.

Below is a time-lapse video of the Northern Hemisphere with images taken from the Elektro-L.