The latest exhibit at Main Library is out of this world

colorized infrared satellite pictures of the Earth

The latest exhibit at Main Library is out of this world.  Truly.  

Earth as Art 4: A Fusion of Science and Art features colorized, infrared Landsat satellite images of Earth from creative vantage points. All the images were acquired by Landsat 8, the satellite launched by NASA in 2013, and the exhibition is on loan to the Library from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The 38-image collection will be displayed on the first and second floors at Main Library through August 31, 2019.

NASA and the USGS have been taking photos from space since the 1970s, and this ongoing record allows scientists to monitor changes over time. But they’re also stunning – by combining different wavelengths of light, some invisible to the human eye, ordinary views of clouds, mountains or rivers are transformed into museum-quality works of art.

And that’s how Earth as Art was born. In the late 1990s staff tasked with image calibration began a collection of their favorites. “Every once in a while, we’d see an image that was so amazing, so remarkable, that we started squirreling them away,” said Earth Resources Observation and Science engineer Jon Christopherson. “We wrote them to CDs back then, and it wasn’t long before we had a drawer full of spectacular images.”

The exhibit began touring worldwide in 2002 and the Library is thrilled to host it at the Main branch in Uptown for the summer. “This exhibit came about through an unexpected combination of the scientific search for geographic changes on earth, some people in an office who happened to recognize something extraordinary, the artistic application of enhancing colors and the desire to freely share knowledge about our world,” said Mimi Curlee, Librarian at Main Library. “It is truly amazing!”

Explore these masterpieces for yourself!

More information about Earth as Art 4 can be found at

The images are online and in the public domain, so people can download and use as they like.

The Library also has print and online resources available for checkout that contain similar images:

Earth as Art by Lawrence Friedl

Earth as Art eBook

Earth by Michael J. Carlowicz