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The Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite takes us over the Ötztal Alps in the western Austrian state of Tyrol in this image from 16 October 2016.

The shadows across the image may play tricks on the eye, making the valleys - the green areas - look like they stand higher than the light blue mountains. Sometimes rotating the image so the shadows fall in a different direction can 'fix' this optical illusion.

Snow appears in shades of blue in this unusual false-colour image using light in the near- and shortwave infrared part of the spectrum. This colouring makes it easier to distinguish between snow and vegetation. It also allows us to differentiate between clouds and snow, which is difficult in other parts of the spectrum as they are usually both white. But there are no clouds visible in this image to demonstrate the effect.

In the upper left we can see part of the Inn River, flowing east from the Swiss Alps and through Austria and Germany before entering the Danube (not pictured). The land in the Inn river valley and other river valleys appear green with patches of agriculture.

The highest peak in the Ötztal range is Wildspitze, standing over 3770 m. The mountain is visible in the lower-left corner, east of the elongated lake, Gepatschspeicher.

View the full resolution image.

Credit: Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2016), processed by ESA

Oetztal Alps

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