Where on Earth: Diomede Islands

Video Player

Video Versions

Where on Earth are these islands?

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with the NASA Earth Observatory (https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).

Story adapted from Image of the Day post by Kathryn Hansen: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/91638/yesterday-and-tomorrow-islands

  • Image of Diomede Islands from Operational Land Imager, Landsat 8 
  • Larger Image of Diomede Islands from Operational Land Imager, Landsat 8
  • Infrared Image of Diomede Islands (June 2017) from Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), Suomi NPP satellite
  • Written by Margaret Carruthers
  • Designed by Dani Player
  • Music from Yesh Music (ASCAP)

Text, Where on Earth?
Two small islands in the ocean from above
Text, where on Earth are these islands?
A, Russia. B, Canada. C, Greenland. D, United States
A, Russia, and D, United States, are highlighted.
At the narrowest part of the Bering Strait, only 82 kilometers (51 miles) of ocean water separate Cape Dezhnev on Russia's Chukotka Peninsula and Cape Prince of Wales on mainland Alaska.
But the distance between Russia and the U.S. is actually much smaller.
Just 3.9 kilometers--less than 2 1/2 miles--separate Big Diomede Island in Russia and Little Diomede Island in the U.S.
During the winter, sea ice extends southward into the strait from the Arctic ocean.
By early summer, the edge of the ice has melted and retreated northward, leaving open water that appears black, as seen in this image taken in June 2017.
The water between the two islands is bisected by two invisible lines: the maritime border of the two countries, and the International Date Line, which inspired the nicknames "Yesterday" (Little Diomede) and "Tomorrow" (Big Diomede) islands.
We zoom out from the islands to a full view of the Earth.
Text, Where on Earth?