Well, OK, it has been going for a number of weeks now. But it went operational last week and the data are now available. Here is the best image so far of the Edinburgh Area, taken on Sunday 26 May.


Unfortunately, the city is under those clouds at the bottom left corner, but there is a nice view of a sunny East Lothian coast between Longniddry and Dunbar. We should wish Landsat 8 the astonishing longevity of Landsat 5 and hope that it does not develop a fault early in its mission like Landsat 7 did.

Landsat 5 has now ceased operating entirely, but it is worth being amazed again by its record. It was launched in 1984, when I was a callow undergraduate and was only decommissioned and moved out of its operational orbit in January of this year, following a gyroscope failure. It is particularly worth noting the role of its unsung, second-string instrument, the MultiSpectral Scanner (MSS). This instrument was flown on Landsat 5 for continuity with the first three Landsats and was powered off in 1995. When main instrument (the Thematic Mapper) died in 2012 the MSS was turned back on and worked for a number of months. So here is a picture of Edinburgh taken in September last year, by an instrument that had spent 28 years in space, and for 17 of which it was switched off with no intention that it ever be switched on again.


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