MODIS: Satellite Sensor

Geospatial Technology September 27, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF
A visible color composite (bands 1-Red, 4-Green, and 3-Blue) of a Terra MODIS acquisition on Nov. 17, 2006. This subset is centered on the city of Houston, Texas. Sediment-laden water is visible in Trinity Bay and Galveston Bay, southeast of Houston. In the northwest corner of the image subset, farmland along the Brazos River and urban lands in the cities of Bryan and College Station, Texas, are easily identified.


Description
The MODIS (Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) instruments are part of the NASA EOS (Earth Observing System). Two sun-synchronous, near-polar orbiting satellites called Terra (EOS AM-1) and Aqua (EOS PM-1) each carry a MODIS sensor. Both satellites and MODIS sensors are operational today.

The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center developed the MODIS instruments, which were designed for global research of the Earth’s atmosphere, land, and ocean processes. See the NASA MODIS Components and Design Concept Web sites for more detailed sensor information.

 

 

Swath
The viewing swath of each MODIS sensor is 2,330 km wide.

 

 

Bands

MODIS Bands
Band Number Pixel Resolution (meters) Reflected Bandwidth Range (nanometers) Emitted Bandwidth Range (microns)
1 250 620 - 670

 

2 250 841 - 876  
3 500 459 - 479  
4 500 545 - 565  
5 500 1230 - 1250  
6 500 1628 - 1652  
7 500 2105 - 2155  
8 1000 405 - 420  
9 1000 438 - 448  
10 1000 483 - 493  
11 1000 526 - 536  
12 1000 546 - 556  
13 1000 662 - 672  
14 1000 673 - 683  
15 1000 743 - 753  
16 1000 862 - 877  
17 1000 890 - 920  
18 1000 931 - 941  
19 1000 915 - 965  
20 1000   3.660 - 3.840
21 1000   3.929 - 3.989
22 1000   3.929 - 3.989
23 1000   4.020 - 4.080
24 1000   4.433 - 4.498
25 1000   4.482 - 4.549
26 1000   1.360 - 1.390
27 1000   6.535 - 6.895
28 1000   7.175 - 7.475
29 1000   8.400 - 8.700
30 1000   9.580 - 9.880
31 1000   10.780 - 11.280
32 1000   11.770 - 12.270
33 1000   13.185 - 13.485
34 1000   13.485 - 13.785
35 1000   13.785 - 14.085
36 1000   14.085 - 14.385

Pixel size
250m (near infrared and red bands)
500m (blue, green, and three infrared bands)
1000m (bands 8 through 36)
See the MODIS Specifications site for more detailed information about each band.

Temporal
NASA launched the Terra satellite on Dec. 18, 1999, and the Aqua satellite on May 4, 2002. Despite the fact that each MODIS instrument was developed with a design life of five years, the Terra and Aqua MODIS sensors continue to acquire quality data today. Because the viewing swath is so large, 2,330 km, the revisit cycle is about one to two days. This repeat frequency does not occur along the same ground track. The ground track repeat cycle is every 16 days.

The Terra satellite passes north to south over the equator at approximately 10:30 a.m. local time, and Aqua travels the opposite direction (south to north) over the equator at about 1:30 p.m.

Orbit
Both satellites operate in sun-synchronous, near-polar orbits at 705 km above the earth.

Web site
NASA MODIS

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.