15 Aug '11, 9am

Quick trip to the South Pacific: Here's the Fiji Islands' Great Sea Reef, courtesy NASA's Aqua satellite.

Surrounded by the warm waters of the South Pacific, the Fiji Islands are often cloaked in clouds when the Aqua or Terra satellites fly over. But July 21, 2011, offered up a perfectly cloud-free view. This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on Aqua shows Fiji’s second-largest island, Vanua Levu, and the Cakaulevu Reef that shelters the island’s northern shore. Also called the Great Sea Reef, Cakaulevu shines turquoise through clear, shallow waters. It is the third longest continuous barrier reef in the world, behind the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Mesoamerica Reef off Central America. When combined with the nearby Pascoe Reef, Cakaulevu Reef is about 200 kilometers (120 miles) long. On its own, the Cakaulevu Reef covers 202,700 square kilometers (77,200 square miles). The first systematic survey of the reef (in 2004) revealed a ...

Full article: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=51731

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