Eighteen days after the Deepwater Horizon accident, an oil slick lingered in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image on May 8, 2010. Although partially obscured by clouds, oil is discernible in two areas—a serpentine slick near the Mississippi Delta, and a large round slick south of the Mississippi-Alabama border. Oil on the water is visible in this image thanks to sunglint (sunlight reflecting off the ocean’s surface into the satellite sensor).
NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. The MODIS Rapid Response team provides daily images of this area. Caption by Michon Scott.