Celebrate St. Patrick's Day 2021 with this verdant view of Ireland from space

The NOAA-20 satellite captured this stunning image of Ireland on March 16, 2021, just ahead of St. Patrick's Day. (Image credit: NOAA)

Ireland is already showing off verdant green finery in an image captured from space one day before the island's iconic holiday, St. Patrick's Day.

The new image comes courtesy of a weather satellite that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operates, creatively dubbed NOAA-20. The satellite loops from pole to pole more than a dozen times a day, looking down on wherever the planet is experiencing mid-afternoon.

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On Tuesday (March 16), that was Ireland. And with a little luck, NOAA-20 caught the island nearly bare of clouds that otherwise mask the satellite's view. The result is a stunning image of the aptly named "Emerald Isle."

Of course, NOAA-20 isn't just looking for pretty pictures. The satellite carries five instruments that help scientists monitor not just vegetation, but also surface temperatures, clouds, fires, volcanoes and snowfall, according to NOAA.

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Meghan Bartels
Senior Writer

Meghan is a senior writer at Space.com and has more than five years' experience as a science journalist based in New York City. She joined Space.com in July 2018, with previous writing published in outlets including Newsweek and Audubon. Meghan earned an MA in science journalism from New York University and a BA in classics from Georgetown University, and in her free time she enjoys reading and visiting museums. Follow her on Twitter at @meghanbartels.