The Landsat 8 satellite images the entire Earth every 16 days in an 8-day offset from Landsat 7. Data collected by the instruments onboard the satellite are available to download at no charge from GloVis, EarthExplorer, or via the LandsatLook Viewer within 24 hours of reception.
Landsat 8 carries two instruments: The Operational Land Imager (OLI) sensor includes refined heritage bands, along with three new bands: a deep blue band for coastal/aerosol studies, a shortwave infrared band for cirrus detection*, and a Quality Assessment band. The Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) provides two thermal bands. These sensors both provide improved signal-to-noise (SNR) radiometric performance quantized over a 12-bit dynamic range. (This translates into 4096 potential grey levels in an image compared with only 256 grey levels in previous 8-bit instruments.) Improved signal to noise performance enable better characterization of land cover state and condition. Products are delivered as 16-bit images (scaled to 55,000 grey levels).
Landsat 8 images have a large file size, at approximately 1 GB compressed.
Band names, wavelengths and resolution for each sensor are listed on this FAQ.
Comparisons of Landsat 8 and Landsat 7 spectral bands and band combinations can be seen on this FAQ.
Landsat 8 data products are consistent with Landsat 1 to Landsat 7 standard Level-1 (orthorectified) data products, using the following specifications:
||Level-1T - Terrain Corrected
||OLI multispectral bands 1-7,9: 30-meters
OLI panchromatic band 8: 15-meters
TIRS bands 10-11: collected at 100 meters but resampled to 30 meters to match OLI multispectral bands
||.tar.gz compressed file via HTTP Download
||Approximately 1 GB (compressed), approximately 2 GB (uncompressed)
The Landsat 8 OLI/TIRS Pre-WRS-2 data set contains nearly 10,000 scenes acquired by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and/or Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) sensors after launch (February 11, 2013) through April 10, 2013, when the satellite achieved operational orbit (WRS-2). The earliest images are TIRS data only. These data are also visible and can be downloaded using GloVis or EarthExplorer.
While these data meet the quality standards and have the same geometric precision as data acquired on April 11, 2013 and beyond, the geographic extents of each scene will differ.
Most data will be processed to an L1T (as other standard products), and the pixel size will be 30 meters. There may be some differences in the spatial resolution of the early TIRS images due to telescope temperature changes, but they should be within +/- 1 percent. The TIRS data will be resampled to 30 meters for co-registration with the OLI data.
The Landsat 8 Data User's Handbook provides information about the Landsat 8 data products.
The Frequently Asked Questions include interesting details about the Landsat 8 satellite and avaiable data products.
Information is available for coverting Landsat 8 Level-1 data to radiance, reflectance and at-satellite brightness temperature.
Images of important areas in the development of Landsat 8 are available.
*Gao, B.C. and Kaufman, Y.J. 1995. Selection of the 1.375 micrometer MODIS Channel for Remote Sensing of Cirrus Clouds and Stratospheric Aerosols from Space, Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 52 (23), p.4231-4237.