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Landsat 8 & Sentinel-2 Satellite Imagery Comparison

(Ordered by center wavelength [CW], except for Pan; values are in μm. See below for more information.)

Convert Landsat 8 to Surface Reflectance    Convert Sentinel-2 to Surface Reflectance

Rare Landsat 8 & Sentinel-2 Imagery Comparison Download (Same Date & Extent, 15 minutes apart)

Landsat 8 has a 16-day revisit time, with generous overlap between scenes which results in an 8-day revisit time for those areas; Sentinel-2A & 2B has a combined 5-day revisit time (2A & 2B averages are listed below). CW and wavelength are calculated differently for Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2 - see below for description.

Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2 satellite band comparison

* Acquired at 100 meter resolution and resampled to 30 meters.

L8 is Landsat 8; S2 is the average of Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-2B (values are very similar for each; the largest proportional difference is the bandwidth for Band 1, which is .027 for 2A and .045 for 2B); CW is band Central Wavelength in micrometers (see below for calculation methods); Res. (m) is Square Pixel Side Length in meters; C/A is Coastal/Aerosol (also known as Ultra Blue); NIR is Near Infrared; SWIR is Shortwave Infrared; Pan is Panchromatic; TIRS is Thermal Infrared; VRE is Vegetation Red Edge (the spectral zone where reflectance abruptly increases from red to infrared); WV is water vapor.

Landsat 8 values are from NASA (2017). For Landsat 8, NASA calculates center wavelength with the full width at half maximum (FWHM) method, which essentially uses the average from a large percent of the centered distribution. The "lower and upper" values are FWHM boundaries.

Sentinel-2A and 2B values are the average from the metadata files of each satellite (ESA, 2017a). Sentinel-2 metadata shows the "min", "max", and "central" value of each bands. We have not been able to verify the calculation method for the central value, but is not the midpoint between the "min" and "max" values. Based on our search, it is likely a weighted average (but this cannot be confirmed). Similar values can also be found at ESA (2017b).



ESA. 2017a. Sentinel-2A & 2B imagery metadata files.

ESA. 2017b. Sentinel Online; Radiometric Resolutions. Cited at:

NASA. 2017. Spectral Response of the Operational Land Imager In-Band, Band-Average Relative Spectral Response. Data downloads available. Cited at: