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Holiday calendar: Wild West Africa


Silt washes into the Atlantic Ocean from rivers in Guinea-Bissau, a small country in West Africa, in this false-color composite image from the Landsat 7 satellite.

You're excused if this picture triggers a flashback to a trippy "Space" jam at a Grateful Dead show, but chill out: It's just an image of Guinea-Bissau, a small country in West Africa, made by the Landsat 7 satellite as it peered down at Earth from its 438-mile-high orbit.

The patterns in the country's shallow coastal waters are created by silt that's been carried by the Geba River and other streams into the Atlantic Ocean. However, this isn't what the country looks like to the naked eye in outer space. Instead, the color-coded image was produced using infrared, red, and blue filters to bring out details in the silt. This online tutorial explains more about the trippy color scheme.

Click through this year's "Earth as Art" slideshow for more out-of-this-world Earth imagery.

This picture of Guinea-Bissau serves as one of the final visual treats in our Cosmic Log Space Advent Calendar. For additional views of Earth from space, check out these past offerings. We've also included links to other online Advent calendars that have been serving up space images daily since the beginning of the month:

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