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How do I search for and download ascending (nighttime) scenes?

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How do I search for and download ascending (nighttime) scenes?


Ascending Landsat scenes can be searched for, then either downloaded or requested for processing through EarthExplorer.

To search for nighttime scenes, you can use either the daytime (descending) path/row, nighttime (ascending) path/row, or the coordinates of your area of interest. If none of this information is known, you can select your area of interest on the map.
Note: Nighttime path/row numbers are not the same as daytime path/row numbers.

To search for nighttime (ascending) scenes, follow these steps:

  1. Access EarthExplorer.
  2. On the Search Criteria tab, enter the daytime path/row, nighttime path/row, or coordinates. If you don't know this information, you can click on your desired location on the map to create a red placemark.
    Note: You must be on the Search Criteria tab to create a red placemark on the map.
  3. On the Data Set tab, select the desired Landsat Archive dataset(s).
  4. On the Additional Criteria tab for each dataset, change the Day_Night selection to Night.
  5. Click the Results tab. Once the results are returned, scenes can either be downloaded or a request can be submitted for processing.

If you know the daytime path/row or coordinates, and want to know the nighttime path/row, access the WRS-2 Path/Row to Latitude/Longitude Converter.
Note: If the coordinates are known, you can skip step 1.

  1. Enter the daytime path/row into the first section and click Convert. The Latitude/Longitude coordinates will be displayed above the map.
  2. Click on the 'Convert from Latitude/Longitude to WRS-2 Path/Row' button, and enter in the coordinates displayed.
  3. Click Ascending Node, and then Convert.
  4. The nighttime (ascending) path and row will be displayed above the map.
  5. Use the coordinates or nighttime path/row in your search on EarthExplorer, using the instructions above.

Note: Cloud cover values for night scenes will always be zero for Landsat images. This FAQ explains why.


Landsat represents the world's longest continuously acquired collection of space-based moderate-resolution land remote sensing data. Four decades of imagery provides a unique resource for those who work in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, and global change research. Landsat images are also invaluable for emergency response and disaster relief.


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Page Last Modified: 10/18/18 11:39 am