Seen above is a view of the Earth on September 21, 2005 with the full Antarctic region visible. The composite image shows the sea ice on September 21, 2005, the date at which the sea ice was at its minimum extent in the northern hemisphere. The colour of the sea ice is derived from the AMSR-E 89 GHz brightness temperature while the extent of the sea ice was determined by the AMSR-E sea ice concentration. Over the continents, the terrain shows the average land cover for September, 2004. The global cloud cover shown was obtained from the original Blue Marble cloud data distributed in 2002. [Source]
Due to the position of Antarctica in relation to our Sun it would not look like this to the naked eye. This is a composite that shows what Antarctica looks like if the entire continent were illuminated.
Click here for the full resolution 8400×8400 pixel TIFF version (63 mb) and click here for the 8400 x 8400 px JPG version.
Antarctica is Earth’s southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14.0 million km2 (5.4 million sq mi), it is the fifth-largest continent in area after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages at least 1 mile (1.6 km) in thickness, which extends to all but the northernmost reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula. [Source]
Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Antarctica is considered a desert, with annual precipitation of only 200 mm (8 inches) along the coast and far less inland. The temperature in Antarctica has reached −89 °C (−129 °F). There are no permanent human residents, but anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at the research stations scattered across the continent. [Source]
Below are other images of our beautiful planet by NASA that show other continents and areas of the globe for comparison.
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