[image-78]Thirty-two have been called, but which will be chosen? NASA's Earth Observatory is hosting the second annual Tournament Earth, a reader-driven competition to choose the previous year's top NASA image of our planet.
The tournament starts March 3 and ends on April 7, with five rounds of voting spread across five weeks. Images in the competition are a blend of reader and staff favorites from the 2013 calendar year. The images are seeded and divided into four brackets categorized by image type – data visualization, photographs, art and events.
The top seed in the data visualization bracket -- and the No. 1 seed overall -- is a global map of fine particulate pollution that garnered more than 150,000 page views in 2013. The photo section is topped by a nighttime view of Liege, Belgium, as photographed by an astronaut on the International Space Station. The "art" section is led by a satellite image of a rare snowfall in Great Britain. The top seed among natural events is a January 2013 satellite image of a smog and pollution over China -- the second most popular image on the Earth Observatory last year. Six of the seven most-viewed images on the site are battling in the events section.
Nearly 60,000 votes were cast in the 2013 tournament, when an image of a submarine volcanic eruption near El Hierro, off the coast of western Africa, emerged as the champion. With heavy support from Canary Islanders, the volcano image soundly defeated a cracking Pine Island Glacier in the final. El Hierro also wiped out a map of the world's night lights in the semifinals. The Canary Islands are making a return trip to the tournament in 2014, landing the No. 2 seed in the art bracket. Pine Island Glacier also returns, as the No. 3 seed in the event section.
Every day is Earth Day at the NASA Earth Observatory, which publishes an image-based story 365 days a year, along with feature articles, natural hazards imagery, blog posts, slide shows and global maps of environmental data. More than 6.5 million unique visitors viewed the Earth Observatory in 2013, and 1.7 million people now follow it on Facebook.
On April 29, 2014, the site will celebrate its 15th anniversary as a flagship for NASA Earth science on the web. NASA's Earth Observatory is perhaps best known for publishing The Blue Marble and The Black Marble (Earth at Night) high-resolution images of our planet, as well as the World of Change series depicting environmental changes over time.
To vote in Tournament Earth, go to:
For a printable Tournament Earth bracket, go to:
NASA Earth Observatory:
Longshot Captures the First Tournament Earth: