“Overview Effect” — These Images Get You Hooked on Planet Earth

Want to experience how astronauts see our planet? That’s not a problem, made possible by a project called Daily Overview with its stunning, daily updated collection of digital images, shot from space, looking down on our planet’s spectacular, vulnerable nature and man-made impact and geometries.

Tagebau Hambach is an open-pit mine in Niederzier and Elsdorf, Germany used to extract lignite. Lignite, often referred to as brown coal, is a soft combustible sedimentary rock that is formed from naturally compressed peat and is used almost exclusively as a fuel for steam-electric power generation. | Daily Overview
Tagebau Hambach is an open-pit mine in Niederzier and Elsdorf, Germany, used to extract lignite. Lignite, often referred to as brown coal, is a soft combustible sedimentary rock that is formed from naturally compressed peat and is used almost exclusively as a fuel for steam-electric power generation. | Daily Overview

It must be a very special feeling when astronauts see earth from space for the first time. Suddenly the planet is in front of them as a whole, realizing how beautiful our world is — but also how fragile. That’s how the relationship between these men (and a few women) and earth changes.

These astronauts, says the project, “have the chance to appreciate our home in its entirety, to reflect on its beauty and its fragility all at once. That’s the cognitive shift that we hope to inspire.”

They feel a deep connection to all live on the planet and want to take responsibility. Experts call this the overview effect. This short film explains the phenomenon through interviews with five astronauts, giving insights into the wider implications and importance of this understanding for society, and our relationship to the environment:

The project is named after this effect to make humans more aware of the marks of civilization and the consequences of their actions. That’s why each and every day the website publishes a new satellite image showing planet earth in its breathtaking and at the same time terrifying beauty.

Daily Overview:

From our line of sight on the earth’s surface, it’s impossible to fully appreciate the beauty and intricacy of the things we’ve constructed, the sheer complexity of the systems we’ve developed, or the devastating impact that we’ve had on our planet. We believe that beholding these forces as they shape our earth is necessary to make progress in understanding who we are as a species, and what is needed to sustain a safe and healthy planet (…)

The mesmerizing flatness seen from this vantage point, the surprising comfort of systematic organization on a massive scale, or the vibrant colors that we capture will hopefully turn your head. However, once we have that attention, we hope you will go beyond the aesthetics, contemplate just exactly what it is that you’re seeing, and consider what that means for our planet.

Thinking about hitting the links this weekend? If you find yourself in Palm Desert, California, there certainly isn’t a shortage of clubs to choose from. The courses seen here, going clockwise from the upper left, are as follows: Desert Willow Golf Resort, Desert Falls Country Club, Palm Valley Country Club, Palm Desert Resort Country Club, Indian Ridge Country Club and Marriott’s Desert Springs Resort. | Daily Overview
Thinking about hitting the links this weekend? If you find yourself in Palm Desert, California, there certainly isn’t a shortage of clubs to choose from. The courses seen here, going clockwise from the upper left, are as follows: Desert Willow Golf Resort, Desert Falls Country Club, Palm Valley Country Club, Palm Desert Resort Country Club, Indian Ridge Country Club and Marriott’s Desert Springs Resort. | Daily Overview

Agricultural development in Loxahatchee, Florida, U.S.A. |Daily Overview
Agricultural development in Loxahatchee, Florida, U.S.A. |Daily Overview

Brock Reservoir -- Gordons Well, California, U.S.A. | Daily Overview
The Brock Reservoir, located near Gordons Well, California, is used to supply water to nearby farmers via the All-American Canal. 2013 and 2014 have been two of the driest years on record in California, with more than 80% of land experiencing severe to exceptional drought. | Daily Overview

Mont Saint-Michel is a commune located one kilometer off the coast of Normandy, France. Over the past 600 years, the island has functioned as a prominent monastery (accessible to pilgrims only during low tide), a French fortification that withstood England attacks during the Hundred Years’ War, and a prison. Today, Saint-Michel is one of the most popular attractions in France and has a population of 44 residents. | Daily Overview
Mont Saint-Michel is a commune located one kilometer off the coast of Normandy, France. Over the past 600 years, the island has functioned as a prominent monastery (accessible to pilgrims only during low tide), a French fortification that withstood England attacks during the Hundred Years’ War, and a prison. Today, Saint-Michel is one of the most popular attractions in France and has a population of 44 residents. | Daily Overview

The Riverbank Arena in London, U.K., was built with two venues for field hockey competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics. The stadium, which cost £19 million to construct, was dismantled immediately after the conclusion of the games. | Daily Overview
The Riverbank Arena in London, U.K., was built with two venues for field hockey competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics. The stadium, which cost £19 million to construct, was dismantled immediately after the conclusion of the games. | Daily Overview

Kansai International Airport -- Osaka, Japan | Daily Overview
Kansai International Airport — Osaka, Japan | Daily Overview

Namdeb Mining Co. diamond dredging -- Oranjemund, Namibia | Daily Overview
Namdeb Mining Co. diamond dredging — Oranjemund, Namibia | Daily Overview

Located in China’s resource-rich but moisture-poor Xinjiang region, the Taklimakan Desert is a dismal location for agricultural activity. However, the sandy landscape is incredibly rich with potash. This form of potassium salt provides a major nutrient required for plant growth, making it a key ingredient in fertilizer. The salt is farmed in massive solar ponds that vibrantly extend across the landscape for more than 13 miles. | Daily Overview
Located in China’s resource-rich but moisture-poor Xinjiang region, the Taklimakan Desert is a dismal location for agricultural activity. However, the sandy landscape is incredibly rich with potash. This form of potassium salt provides a major nutrient required for plant growth, making it a key ingredient in fertilizer. The salt is farmed in massive solar ponds that vibrantly extend across the landscape for more than 13 miles. | Daily Overview

Clearcutting operations in the Amazon Rainforest of Para, Brazil branch out from one of the state's central roads. | Daily Overview
Clearcutting operations in the Amazon Rainforest of Para, Brazil branch out from one of the state’s central roads. | Daily Overview

2013 was the driest year in the recorded history of California. With a shrinking supply of both federal and state irrigation water and with reservoirs 71% below normal levels, crops like the ones seen here in Gonzales will continue to be affected and will become more expensive for consumers. | Daily Overview
2013 was the driest year in the recorded history of California. With a shrinking supply of both federal and state irrigation water and with reservoirs 71% below normal levels, crops like the ones seen here in Gonzales will continue to be affected and will become more expensive for consumers. | Daily Overview

Bremerhaven is the largest car terminal in Europe. At any given moment, the German port contains between 60,000 and 80,000 vehicles. | Daily Overview
Bremerhaven is the largest car terminal in Europe. At any given moment, the German port contains between 60,000 and 80,000 vehicles. | Daily Overview

Visit Daily Overview for more of this stunning “look down” imagery.




  • Rich

    Very cool posting today!!!

  • Appreciate Rich — spread the word!

  • Wade Marks

    Thank yo so much for this timely message. We really do need to protect our planet and take that responsibility more seriously.

    Images can have great impact; it’s always been said that the famous picture from Apollo 8 of the earth from the moon had a profound impact on US environmental policy.

    It’s sad that in the US we have one major political party (Republican) that denies the science of climate change and seems determined to do everything to wreck the environment.