This NASA Earth Science video, NASA Sees Photosynthesis From Space, is not only a lesson in how plants use light to make food for themselves, but also demonstrates how changing your perspective — in this case, looking at plants at a cellular level from hundreds of miles above the Earth — can change your understanding of the information. Via jtotheizzoe:

Plants are often unable to absorb all the light that hits their leaves and chloroplasts. A small portion is re-emitted as fluorescence, it’s just that we can’t see the faint signal in broad daylight.

But satellites can. NASA shows you what plant fluorescence looks like from orbit. This kind of data is key to understanding the health of global vegetation.

To learn more about photosynthesis, check out They Might Be Giants’ animated music video for Photosynthesis from their kid-friendly science-themed album Here Comes Science:

More videos about plantsEarth, satellites, and different orbits await. Plus: More videos from They Might Be Giants.

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