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October 21, 2011
Like a rough-cut gem displayed on a jeweler’s cloth, the spring-green landscape of Tasmania stood out against the deep blue background of ocean waters on October 18, 2011 when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite passed overhead and captured this true-color image.

The Australian island state includes the main island of Tasmania as well as over twenty surrounding islands. Lying only about 124 miles (200 kilometers) off the southeastern coast of Australia, several bodies of water surround Tasmania. To the northeast are the waters of the South Pacific Ocean while the Tasman Sea washes the southeastern coasts. To the west lies the Indian Ocean and the Bass Strait separates northern Tasmania from nearby Victoria, Australia.

The island’s geographic features are clearly seen in this nearly cloud-free image. The Central Highlands are the most mountainous region, covering most of the central western part of the state. They contain most of the state’s temperate rainforests, and appear dark green. In contrast, the Midlands appear light green, as spring brings vegetative growth to the primarily agricultural lands. To the southeast, the large estuary of the Derwent River can be seen. Along this river, a bright gray smudge marks the city of Hobart, the capital of Tasmania.

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

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