Rainforest near Manaus, Brazil – to see how we are looking after the trees

Samuel wrote “I would like a picture of the rainforest because I would like to see if the trees are growing well’ and explained to his teacher, Debbie Bartlett, that he thinks we do not look after our planet. He said that a picture of the rainforest would let us see if we are taking care of it and that he would like to send a copy of the image to a rainforest charity.

Many children who asked for pictures of the Amazon or another rainforest gave us coordinates right in the middle where you can see lots of green. The area that Samuel asked for, near Manaus in Brazil, makes a very interesting picture – and not only because you can see the city as well as the forest. This is where the Rio Negro – the black river – joins the muddy Rio Solimões, and you can see the water from the two rivers flowing side-by-side for several kilometres before they mix in the Amazon.

The rainforest is often covered by clouds, which means that it is difficult for astronauts to get a picture of a specific area and they are still trying to get Samuel’s picture. In the meantime, the image we have given him comes from one of the European Space Agency’s Copernicus satellites, Sentinel 2A, which flies over the same spot on earth every 10 days and so has a much better chance of getting a clear view.