Satellite Antarctica Expedition 2008-2009

About the Expedition

The Satellite Antarctica Expedition 2008-2009 - 'SAE 08-09' took place at the end of 2008 - the beginning of 2008 within the framework of the 'Image of the Day' project performed by the Brockmann Consult, Germany.

An Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) of the ENVISAT European satellite was used as the initial information.

The purpose of the expedition was:

The kind of information received by the radar’s antenna is influenced mostly by the following features of the radiated surface:

  • roughness,
  • the slope towards the radar’s ray,
  • the relative static permittivity εr of a material under given conditions (mainly depending on the temperature of the material).

In general, the higher the material εr is, the stronger is the echo and the lighter it looks in the picture (under given conditions). However, as the spacecraft moves along in its orbit, the radar antenna transmits pulses very rapidly. It can therefore obtain many backscattered radar responses from a particular object while passing overhead. This causes the characteristic speckle effect in the resulting images.

The appearance of the surface types investigated in the ASAR images of the region of Antarctica can be summarized as follows:

  • calm sea waters are usually dark-coloured,
  • colder (because of fine ice) sea waters of low salinity (resulting from the melting ice) are usually lighter in colour,
  • glaciers, coastal ice, pack-ice and most of the icebergs are usually light-coloured,
  • the surfaces of the mountains situated on the coastal islands and on the coastline are usually very dark.

Different structures that are observed on the water are results of the water roughness caused by the wind and possibly, more seldom, by some phenomena within the ocean water.
To observe some peculiarities of the surface of the snow cover on the mountainous plateaus of Antarctica is possible first of all because of the unevenness of its relief on a scale of precision of 10 km.

More information about ASAR: ASAR FAQ.

In total 265 pairs of ASAR images are presented. They are available in JPEG format, being monochromatic and sometimes polychromatic. All the images are presented in the projection of the satellite scanner’s coordinate system ([number of scan line] x [number of scanned pixel])

    • All large images have one and the same scale 1px=75м
    • All smaller images have one and the same scale. 1px =375м.

For processing the satellite data the ESA BEAM software, developed and supported by the Brockmann Consult, was applied.

The operations were performed by the "participants of the expedition."

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To display the images please click on the green circles, these represent the image locations. A new window with a smaller image will be opened. In the top right-hand corner of this page information about the larger image will appear and which can then be opened in a separate window by pressing the "show" button.
Please note the size of the larger image before downloading!

Images are copyright protected and may not be used for any advertising, commercial, promotional or layout purposes. For education and scientific purposes, permission requests must first be submitted to Brockmann Consult.