NASA composite image showing rate of photosynthesis around the United States from 2007 through 2011

NASA just released this satellite image of an eerie red glow over the Midwestern and Eastern United States.  If your reaction was similar to Reeko’s (he threw on his hat and ran to the closet to grab his suitcase), you might think this is a bad thing.  It’s not.  As plants carry out photosynthesis, their chlorophyll also creates a very small amount of fluorescence, a type of radiation.  This radiation is invisible to our eyes but the superhumans at NASA however, have the technology to detect the fluorescence on satellite images and display on this map.  The brighter red areas show where greater amounts of photosynthesis have taken place from 2007 through 2011.

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