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Satellite Image of Gulf of Mexico Oil Extent - May 24, 2010
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Satellite Image of Gulf of Mexico Oil Extent - May 24, 2010

The most recent NASA MODIS satellite image of the Gulf of Mexico shows the extent of the oil released from the Deepwater Horizon spill. Image was taken on May 23, 2010 and processed on May, 24th. The oil can be seen as a sheen on the water surface. It is especially evident when the angle of the sun's light that is reflected off of the ocean surface is equal to the viewing angle of the satellite - called sunglint. Areas of oil contamination outside of the sunglint are not as noticeable. It is therefore necessary to use multiple satellite passes to accurately estimate the actual extent of the spill. An arm of the spill is seen moving through the center of the image - this is due to some of the oil being entrained in the surface currents of the Gulf of Mexico, specifically the Loop Current.

 
 

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