Kinsale, Ireland, home of the rumored White Lady of Kinsale ghost. Captured October 15, 2016. Images ©2016 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0.

Spooky Sites Spotted by Space Satellites

In the 1970s, part of a natural gas field collapsed, forming the Darvaza Crater. Soviet engineers lit the crater aflame in hopes of preventing the spread of any dangerous gasses to surrounding villages. The gasses were expected to burn off for about a month, but amazingly they still burn today — 40 years later.

It’s known by locals and tourists alike as the “Door to Hell”. If you’re game to drive into Turkmenistan’s interior and visit the crater, you’ll see this:

But, if that trek doesn’t fit into your travel plans, you can always observe the crater from space with the help of our trusty Dove satellites. The Door to Hell is roughly the size of an American football field, and easily visible in 3–5 meter resolution. This month, a Dove satellite passed over the crater, and captured this image:

Darvasa Crater, Turkmenistan. Captured October 15, 2016. Images ©2016 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0.

In the bright light of morning, the crater’s steep sides cast a crescent-shaped shadow onto the glowing embers below.

Our Doves orbit the Earth once every 90 minutes, snapping continuous pictures along the way, capturing imagery of some of the eeriest places on Earth. Join us as our satellites look down at more spooky spots around the globe!


A few thousand kilometers south of Turkmenistan rests what’s perhaps the world’s most famous necropolis: The Great Pyramid Complex at Giza.

The Pyramids at Giza, Egypt. Imaged October 29, 2015. Images ©2016 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0.

Deep within these three large pyramids lie the burial chambers of three Old Kingdom pharaohs: Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure. Smaller pyramids dedicated to queens and extensive cemeteries radiate out from the larger pyramids, sprawling across the enormous complex.

After having their remains mummified, Egypt’s dead were buried with their worldly treasures, which were thought to assist them in the afterlife. Egyptologists found an intact full-size ship buried near the largest pyramid (Khufu’s pyramid). Visitors can view the preserved ship at the solar-powered Giza Boat museum—the long, rectangular building at the southern foot of Khufu’s pyramid.


From space we spotted a building that strikes fear into hearts of anybody who doesn’t like heights. Each year, thrill seekers and Twilight Zone fans the world over flock to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (part of Walt Disney World in Florida) to plummet 200 feet from the tower’s top floor in a haunted elevator.

Detail. The Tower of Terror stands just to the left of the lagoon, casting its tall shadow eastward. Images ©2016 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0.

While Disneyland Resort in Anaheim has recently announced the closing of the Tower of Terror ride in their California Adventure park, the Florida original will remain open in Orlando. We recognized the tower in this recent October image after we spotted the long shadow it casts across the studio backlot. Bonus points to anyone who spots the not-so-hidden Mickey in this larger satellite image of Disney World Resort:

Disney’s Hollywood Studios and a hidden Mickey, Orlando Florida. Imaged October 23, 2016. Images ©2016 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0.

Just a short flight from Disney World, and you’ll find yourself in a region straight out of Unsolved Mysteries — the Bermuda Triangle. The fabled triangle is thought by some to contain the remains of the lost Continent of Atlantis. Others think it’s affected by a large anomaly in the Earth’s magnetic field. And others posit that UFOs frequent the triangle to abduct vessels and planes.

Thankfully we haven’t lost any satellites in the triangle—their attitude control systems are all operating nominally. From space, we’re able to collect beautiful and surreal imagery of the region.

Griffin’s Cay, Bahamas. Imaged February 4, 2016. Images ©2016 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0.

In this abstract image, steady waves slowly shift shallow oolitic sands off the coast of Griffin’s Cay in the Bahamas.


To see more images of weird and wonderful locations across the globe, visit Planet’s online image gallery.