Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 17:34 EDT
Kiribati Islands Pacific Ocean
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Kiribati Islands, Pacific Ocean

April 3, 2013
The tiny islands that make up the island nation of Kiribati are scattered over five million square kilometers of the Pacific Ocean. Located on the Equator southeast of Hawaii, the 33 islands of Kiribati are coral atolls surrounded by extensive coral reefs. It is the reefs, not the land, that make the islands visible in this image, acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on December 20, 2003. The white shells that form the reef reflect light back to the satellite. Through the shallow ocean water, the reflected light is a vibrant turquoise. Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC