BRACCIANO – On October 28, 2020, USRA selected an aerial shot by filmmaker Alessia Scarso as the Earth Picture of the Day. Earth Picture of the Day (EPOD) is a science outreach service curated by NASA’s Earth Science Division and the EOS Project Science Office at Goddard Space Flight Center, in collaboration with the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) consortium, and publishes an evocative annotated image related to Earth science each day.
The photo was taken on July 12, 2020 during a commercial flight and depicts Lake Bracciano, the Tuscan archipelago, the Tyrrhenian Sea and Corsica on the horizon.
The scientific note accompanying the photo on the USRA website explains that the image shows sunglint, a phenomenon that occurs when sunlight reflects off the surface of the sea at the same angle at which a satellite or other sensor is viewing it, and points out that although that kind of sun reflection hinders information detection, in some cases it actually enhances details that can’t be detected otherwise, such as the roughness of the water surface.
“It was July and I was coming home after six months away post-lockdown. It was like a flight back to life and that expansive view seemed to welcome me, reopen my eyes and awaken the dormant ability to feel. Sunglint is a phenomenon that veils but reveals: basically something that while it prevents you from seeing, it reveals details you wouldn’t otherwise see.
Above the clouds it is always clear, the perception is different and the detachment brings you back to the here and now with the right distance. Everything is relative as well as illuminated.”
Alessia Scarso is a filmmaker and astrophotographer, member of the well-known group of photographers Pictores Caeli, which Nasa often attends through publications of spectacular scientific shots.
The photo on the USRA website is posted at this link