Reflection of the sun on satellite pictures
Today, at 8:30 am UTC, we can clearly see the reflection of the sun over the Indian Ocean east of Somalia and Kenya.
For those who are fans of animation you can capture the movement of the sun reflection. More impressive if you adjust the time lapse on 6h.
This phenomenon is explained because we are close to the equinox (March 20th). So the sun at this time of the year is just above the equator, same as the satellite which is in a fixed equatorial position. The reflection law then explains that the reflected sunbeams on the sea reach the satellite camera and so the picture you see on your screen.
Moreover, you can observed flashes over Uganda and the Republic of Congo. These flashes move at same speed as the apparent motion of the sun. They are probably due to the reflection of the sun on very high icy clouds (stratospheric?) but mainly on river Congo and other rivers and lakes.
Another effect of equinox is that day/night boundaries are straight and parallel in Mercator projection.
THANKS for a visual reminder about how beautiful these images can be :)
You are right, this is obvious when latitude-longitude grid is shown (see Settings).
The reflection of the sun moves a little more north each day and will disappear before reappearing around September 20 at the time of the equinox.