This image was taken by an instrument (called a Thematic Mapper Simulator) from an airplane (a NASA C-130) flying over the Kilauea Crater. This image looks different from aerial photographs. This is because all the data acquired by this instrument (called the Thermal Infrared Multispectral Scanner, or TIMS) is in the thermal infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum. This is well beyond the wavelengths that we can see with the human eye. This part of the spectrum is called the thermal infrared because many objects on earth radiate at temperatures that can best be seen in this part of the spectrum. This image was created by doing a lot of complicated manipulation (known as principle component stretching in order to try and distinguish between different rocks. All of the rocks in this image lavas with very similar compositions, but they were all erupted at different times. The different colored lava flows in this image indicated lava flows of different ages. Just to the east of Kilauea Crater is an oblong feature, appearing pink in this image. At the western end of this feature is a small cone called Kilauea Iki.
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