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Happy St. Patrick's Day from NASA: Ireland from space

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NASA/MODIS Rapid Response Team

Nothing says St. Patrick's Day like a view of Ireland from space.

At least that is the thinking of NASA, which issued this gorgeous image of Ireland in all its green glory. And the timing could not be more fit, considering millions of Irish around the world will be traipsing about Tuesday in green - many of them drinking green beer.

This image taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA's Aqua satellite shows the Emerald Isle dominated by green vegetation, primarily grassland. The only exception is the exposed rock on mountaintops.

Ireland owes its greenness to moderate temperatures and moist air, which means lots of rain and fog, as well as cloudy conditions 50 percent of the time. You might say NASA cashed in on a little luck of the Irish when it got this picture on a nearly cloudless day.

  • Michael Casey

    Michael Casey covers the environment, science and technology for CBSNews.com