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Western Europe
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Western Europe

October 9, 2011
The colors of a changing autumn landscape across Western Europe were captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite on October 1, 2011, as it passed over the region. The image was captured at 2:50 p.m. local time (Paris, France) on a sunny afternoon.

Black border lines have been overlaid on the natural-colored image to delineate political boundaries of countries in the region. Near the center, the roughly hexagonal shape of France is apparent. Three of the six sides of the country are bounded by water. To the southeast lies the Mediterranean Sea and to the west are the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Biscay. To the northwest, the English Channel separates Great Britain from France. The inland borders are shared by seven neighboring countries - Belgium and Luxembourg on the northeast; Germany, Switzerland, and Italy on the east; and Spain and tiny Andorra on the south. France's eighth neighbor is Monaco, located on the Mediterranean coast near Nice and entirely surrounded by France.

In some areas across the region, the dark greens of summer forest are gently softened by pale greens and yellows of senescent leaves of deciduous trees, otherwise known as fall foliage. In the south, the Alps are covered by a coating of snow. North of the Alps, a bright white patch with soft edges can be seen. This is not snow, but a layer of late afternoon fog that covers the Bodensee (Lake Constance) and fills the nearby valleys. The Bodensee is shared by three countries. At the extreme southeastern corner is Austria. Germany lies to the north and Switzerland to the south. Although the lake is only about 14 km (8.7 mi) across at the widest point, the view is frequently obstructed by haze and fog.

Credits: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC