Aeronet, City College of New York
This image of the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions of the United States is centered on an interesting human-made feature.
A sensor has been placed on the roof of the Engineering Building of the City College of New York City, located in Manhattan. This instrument measures the atmosphere from the ground, providing data that is used to, among other things, calibrate satellite images such as this one.
The sensor is part of the AErosol RObotic NETwork (AERONET), a consortium of researchers committed to sharing their data and information for the benefit of science.
Satellite images are formed by recording the amount of solar radiation (sunlight) that travels through the atmosphere, is reflected off of the Earth's surface, and transmitted back through the atmosphere to the sensor.
Therefore, understanding how solar radiation reacts to things in the atmosphere like water vapor, smoke or dust is critical for the creation of accurate satellite measurements of the Earth's surface.
Sensors such as this one are located throughout the globe, on every continent. This particular sensor is located in a highly urbanized environment that influences the atmosphere around it very differently than do other land use types.