This is stunning stuff, but it actually took me a while to figure out what I was actually seeing. The size and scope of the image is so huge, I didn't even see the islands at first. (The colors are amazing, as well, though they didn't really jump out at me at first glance, either. Kind of like the things they're coloring, actually.)
Areas near the equator are frequently cloudy, obscuring the view of Earth’s surface from space. April 7, 2017, was no different. On that day, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image of clouds over the Gilbert Islands. The remote island chain is part of the Republic of Kiribati, and straddles the equator in the central Pacific Ocean.
These clouds, however, were not your typical tropical rainstorm. Instead, the parallel “roll clouds” were likely influenced by the development of Tropical Cyclone Cook to the south. At the time, Cook was strengthening near Vanuatu and heading toward New Caledonia.