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Kerguelen Islands
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Kerguelen Islands

December 27, 2009
This image shows the Kerguelen Islands on December 21, 2009. The MODIS on the Terra satellite caught this view as it passed overhead on the same day. The Kerguelen Islands sit in the southern Indian Ocean, southeast of Madagasgar, but north of Antarctica. This island chain is actually a French Territory. There are no native inhabitants, but a small staff of scientists and researchers does stay there.

The main island, Grande Terre, is mostly what is visible in this image, though the archipelago does include 300 or so smaller islands. Grande Terre seems to contribute to interesting cloud formations, as the island interacts with the air flowing over it. Nearby are wave clouds, which are created when stable air is disturbed, causing air to move along the disturbance, like waves in a pond. If the layer of stable air is humid, where the air flows up, a cloud forms at the crest. Where it flows down, the cloud evaporates, giving the clouds the rippled pattern.


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