Guatemala's Fuego volcano continued its frequent moderate eruptions in early February 2015. Pyroclastic flows from the eruptions descended multiple drainages, and the eruptions sent ash plumes spewing over Guatemala City 22 miles (35 kilometers) away, and forced closure of the international airport. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument onboard NASA's Terra spacecraft captured a new image of the region on February 17. Fuego is on the left side of the image. The thermal infrared inset image shows the summit crater activity (white equals hot), and remnant heat in the flows on the flank. Other active volcanoes shown in the image are Acatenango close by to the north, Volcano de Agua in the middle of the image, and Pacaya volcano to the east. The image covers an area of 19 by 31 miles (30 by 49.5 kilometers), and is located at 14.5 degrees north, 90.9 degrees west.
With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER images Earth to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched Dec. 18, 1999, on Terra. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and data products.
The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER provides scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping and monitoring of dynamic conditions and temporal change. Example applications are: monitoring glacial advances and retreats; monitoring potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.
The U.S. science team is located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C.
More information about ASTER is available at http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/.