A “blue marble” image focusing on the northern half of Earth’s Western hemisphere, this was taken by the Suomi SPP satellite on 4 January 2012, following the example of the Apollo astronauts of the 1970′s.
As Dr. Jeff Masters writes, analyzing the photo:
“The image is very interesting meteorologically, and extremely strange. It is obvious that it is a winter image, as revealed by the large area of stratocumulus clouds off the U.S. East Coast all the way to South Florida, caused by cold Canadian air blowing offshore. However, the U.S. and Canada are virtually snow-free and cloud-free, which is extremely rare for a January day. The lack of snow in the mountains of the Western U.S. is particularly unusual. I doubt one could find a January day this cloud-free with so little snow on the ground throughout the entire satellite record, going back to the early 1960s.”
On the other hand, the tropical waters off Florida, the Yucatan Peninsula, and Cuba look beautiful.