March 17, 2011 at 2:14 PM ET
In a St. Patrick's Day special, NASA has released a three leaf clover view of Ireland taken by an instrument on its Aqua satellite that sees in near-infrared/visible, infrared, and microwave light.
The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder measures the temperatures of land, sea, and air to provide a better understanding of what is happening in those environments, the space agency says.
On March 3, when this trio of images was made, temperatures near the surface of the Emerald Isle were "near normal" for this time of year. In March, the Ireland's average daytime high is 49 degrees F and nighttime lows are 38 degrees F.
NASA's Aqua satellite circles Earth pole-to-pole 15 times a day in a sun-synchronous orbit to provide data and images to researchers in the Earth, ocean, and atmospheric sciences.
Cloud top temperatures, for example, provide clues to scientists about the power of the thunderstorms. The colder the clouds are, the higher they are, and the more powerful the thunderstorms, NASA says. When AIRS measures cloud temperatures as cold as or colder than minus 63 degrees F, that indicates high cloud tops, strong convection and the likelihood of powerful thunderstorms.
For more information on what the three-leaf clover image of Ireland reveals, check out this press release from NASA.John Roach is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by hitting the "like" button on the Cosmic Log Facebook page or following msnbc.com's science editor, Alan Boyle, on Twitter (@b0yle).