Aerial images of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

  • This NASA Earth Observatory image obtained May 27, 2010 taken by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite shows a false-color, high-resolution view of the very tip of the Mississippi River Delta on May 24, 2010. Ribbons and patches of oil that have leaked from the Deepwater Horizon well offshore are silver against the light blue color of the adjacent water. Vegetation is red. In the sunglint region of a satellite image—where the mirror-like reflection of the Sun gets blurred into a wide, bright strip—any differences in the texture of the water surface are enhanced. Oil smoothes the water, making it a better “mirror.” Oil-covered waters are very bright in this image, but, depending on the viewing conditions (time of day, satellite viewing angle, slick location), oil-covered water may look darker rather than brighter. The cause of the dark patch of water in the upper left quadrant of the image is unknown. It may indicate the use of chemical dispersants, skimmers, or booms, or it may be the result of natural differences in turbidity, salinity, or organic matter in the coastal waters. AFP PHOTO/NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS/US/Japan ASTER Science Team (Photo credit should read HO/AFP/Getty Images) HO / HANDOUT

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, May 5, 2010 file photo, a shrimp boat is used to collect oil from last month's Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico in the waters of Chandeleur Sound, La. A reader-submitted question about the feasibility of using a vacuum-type suction device that could suck up some of the oil is being answered as part of an Associated Press Q&A column called "Ask AP." (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) CHARLIE RIEDEL / STF

  • The most recent NASA MODIS satellite image of the Gulf of Mexico obtained on May 28, 2010 shows the extent of the oil released from the Deepwater Horizon spill. The image was taken on May 23, 2010 and processed on May, 24th. The oil can be seen as a sheen on the water surface. It is especially evident when the angle of the sun's light that is reflected off of the ocean surface is equal to the viewing angle of the satellite - called sunglint. Areas of oil contamination outside of the sunglint are not as noticeable. It is therefore necessary to use multiple satellite passes to accurately estimate the actual extent of the spill. An arm of the spill is seen moving through the center of the image - this is due to some of the oil being entrained in the surface currents of the Gulf of Mexico, specifically the Loop Current. AFP PHOTO/NOAA/NASA/HANDOUT/RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read HO/AFP/Getty Images) HO / HANDOUT

  • GRAND ISLE, LA - MAY 27: Oil floats ashore at the Grand Isle East State Park May 27, 2010 on Grand Isle, Louisiana. BP and government officials are cautiously optimistic that the "top kill" solution of stopping the oil spill caused by the Deepwater Horizon disaster will be successful. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) WIN MCNAMEE / STAFF

  • In this image released on May 25, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was perfectly positioned in the sunglint part of a photo-like image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. In the sunglint region—where the mirror-like reflection of the Sun gets blurred into a wide, bright strip—any differences in the texture of the water surface are enhanced. Oil smoothes the water, making it a better “mirror.” The slick appears large and sprawling, reaching out in numerous ribbons toward the tip of the Mississippi River Delta. Oil is visible in the marshes of Barataria Bay and barrier islands to the southwest. Although most of the oil is located near and to the west and northwest of the damaged well, one streamer of oil continues to stretch toward the southeast. Energy giant BP's "top kill" effort to plug its leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico has stopped oil and gas from coming up and "stabilized the wellhead," Coast Guard commandant Thad Allen said on May 27, 2010. AFP PHOTO/NASA (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images) - / -

  • GULF OF MEXICO - MAY 26: Oil streaks into the Gulf of Mexico May 26, 2010 near Brush Island, Louisiana. As BP prepares to try and stop the oil leak with a 'top kill' method, the Louisiana coastline is reeling from the effects of the continued gusher. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) WIN MCNAMEE / STAFF

  • BRUSH ISLAND, LA - MAY 26: Pelicans take flight near an oil covered shoreline on May 26, 2010 in Brush Island, Louisiana. As BP prepares to try and stop the oil leak with a 'top kill' method, the Louisiana coastline is reeling from the effects of the continued gusher. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) WIN MCNAMEE / STAFF

  • GULF OF MEXICO - MAY 26: Birds take flight near an oil covered shoreline on May 26, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico near Brush Island, Louisiana. As BP prepares to try and stop the oil leak with a 'top kill' method, the Louisiana coastline is reeling from the effects of the continued gusher. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) WIN MCNAMEE / STAFF

  • This U.S. Coast Guard photo obtained Tuesday shows the crew of a Basler BT-67 fixed wing aircraft as they release oil dispersant over an oil discharge from the mobile offshore drilling unit, Deepwater Horizon, off the shore of Louisiana, May 5, 2010. More than 7000,000 gallons of chemicals have been used to break up the oil spill. Fresh waves of crude oil swept onto Gulf of Mexico shores Tuesday as energy giant BP readied for a desperate effort to plug a massive leak that is threatening an environmental disaster. STEPHEN LEHMANN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

  • Chandeleur Islands in the Gulf of Mexico as seen on Thursday, May 20, 2010. Many are waiting to see how the islands may be affected by Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (James Edward Bates/Biloxi Sun Herald/MCT) JAMES EDWARD BATES / MBR

  • Transocean's Discoverer Enterprise drilling vessel, lower right, burns off gas at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, May 20, 2010. (James Edward Bates/Biloxi Sun Herald/MCT) JAMES EDWARD BATES / MBR

  • This US Coast Guard handout image shows crews conducting overflights of controlled burns taking place in the Gulf of Mexico May 19, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. During controlled burns, oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident is burned in an effort to reduce the amount of oil in the water. U.S. COAST GUARD

  • This US Coast Guard handout image shows crews conducting overflights of controlled burns taking place in the Gulf of Mexico May 19, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. During controlled burns, oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident is burned in an effort to reduce the amount of oil in the water. AFP PHOTO/HO/US COAST GUARD/ Chief Petty Officer John Kepsimelis == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN == (Photo credit should read HO/AFP/Getty Images) HO / HANDOUT

  • This US Coast Guard handout image shows crews conducting overflights of controlled burns taking place in the Gulf of Mexico May 19, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. During controlled burns, oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident is burned in an effort to reduce the amount of oil in the water. AFP PHOTO/HO/US COAST GUARD/ Chief Petty Officer John Kepsimelis == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN == (Photo credit should read HO/AFP/Getty Images) HO / HANDOUT

  • This picture released by Greenpeace on May 19, 2010 shows an aerial view of a ship funnelling some of the leaking oil from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead and flaring the collected gas off the Louisiana coast. DANIEL BELTRA / STRINGER

  • This picture released by Greenpeace on Wednesday shows an aerial view of a vessel passing through leaking oil from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead off the Louisiana coast. DANIEL BELTRA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

  • This picture released by Greenpeace on May 19, 2010 shows an aerial view of a vessel passing through leaking oil from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead off the Louisiana coast. DANIEL BELTRA / STRINGER

  • This picture released by Greenpeace on May 19, 2010 shows an aerial view vesels passing through leaking oil from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead off the Louisiana coast. DANIEL BELTRA / STRINGER

  • This picture released by Greenpeace on May 19, 2010 shows an aerial view of spilled oil being burnt off seven miles Northeast of the location where the Deepwater Horizon wellhead sank off the Louisiana coast. DANIEL BELTRA / STRINGER

  • This NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Terra satellite image captured Monday shows a close up view of a massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico as it continued spreading moving perilously close to shore, near Louisiana. BP said Tuesda that a tube inserted into a ruptured oil pipe now is sucking up about 40 percent of the crude spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, about twice as much as it did one day earlier. NASA HAND OUT

  • A ship's wake cuts through a pattern of oil near the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico Monday. CHARLIE RIEDEL/AP / AP

  • Oil from the Deepwater Horizon well swirls in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana on Thursday. RICK LOOMIS/MCT

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: Large amounts of oil sit on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico that has leaked out of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead operated by BP on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The well is still leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • Oil from the Deepwater Horizon well swirls in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana on Thursday, May 6, 2010. (Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times/MCT) CAROLYN COLE / MBR

  • Oil from the Deepwater Horizon well swirls in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana on Thursday, May 6, 2010. (Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times/MCT) CAROLYN COLE / MBR

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: Large amounts of oil are seen on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico that have leaked out from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig operated by BP on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The well is still leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: Large amounts of oil sit on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico that has leaked out of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead operated by BP on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The well is still leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: Large amounts of oil sit on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico that has leaked out of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead operated by BP on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The well is still leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: Large amounts of oil sit on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico that has leaked out of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead operated by BP on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The well is still leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: Large amounts of oil sit on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico that has leaked out of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead operated by BP on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The well is still leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: Large amounts of oil are seen on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico that have leaked out from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig operated by BP on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The well is still leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: Large amounts of oil are seen on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico that have leaked out from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig operated by BP on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The well is still leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: Oil platforms and boats surround the site of the Deepwater Horizon well head operated by BP in the Gulf of Mexico on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The well is still leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: An oil platform sits in the Gulf of Mexico on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The Deephorizon wellhead operated by BP is still leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: An oil platform sits in the Gulf of Mexico on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The Deephorizon wellhead operated by BP is still leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • A containment device waits to be lowered into the water at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in hopes that the device will be able to curtail the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, May 6, 2010. (Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times/MCT) CAROLYN COLE / MBR

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: Boats including a barge carrying a oil containment vessel sit out near the Deepwater Horizon oil spill site in the Gulf of Mexico on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The well is still leaking up to 5,000 barrels of oil a day. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: A new oil platform sits out near the Deepwater Horizon oil spill site in the Gulf of Mexico on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The well is still leaking up to 5,000 barrels of oil a day. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: A new oil platform sits out near the Deepwater Horizon oil spill site in the Gulf of Mexico on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The well is still leaking up to 5,000 barrels of oil a day. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: Oil platforms and boats surround the site of the Deepwater Horizon well head operated by BP in the Gulf of Mexico on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The well is still leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • A containment device, located on the back of the ship at the lower left, waits to be lowered into the water at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in hopes that the device will be able to curtail the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, May 6, 2010. (Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times/MCT) CAROLYN COLE / MBR

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: A tug boat pushes a barge with supplies away from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The well is still leaking up to 5,000 barrels of oil a day. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: The Joe Griffin barge carrying the containment box which will be used to try to contain the Deepwater Horizon oil spill sits in the Gulf of Mexico surrounded by oil on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig operated by BP is leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: Large amounts of oil are seen on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico that have leaked out from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig operated by BP on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The well is still leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: The Joe Griffin barge carrying the containment box which will be used to try to contain the Deepwater Horizon oil spill sits in the Gulf of Mexico surrounded by oil on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig operated by BP is leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: The barge Joe Griffin carrying the containment vessel that will be used to help stop one of the leaks from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead sits in the Gulf of Mexico waiting to be lowered to the sea floor on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The well is still leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • VENICE, LA - MAY 06: Oil platforms and boats surround the site of the Deepwater Horizon well head operated by BP in the Gulf of Mexico on May 6, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The well is still leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) CHRIS GRAYTHEN / STAFF

  • In this handout from NASA, an oil slick from the sunk Deepwater Horizon drilling platform is seen May 4, 2010 off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. According to reports, oil is expected to pouring from the seafloor for at least another week before a possible solutin can be found. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images) NASA

  • This NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Aqua satellite image Captured May 4, 2010 shows a close up view of a massive oil slick (right in the Gulf of Mexico as it continued spreading moving perilously close to shore, near Louisiana. HO / HANDOUT

  • A May 1, 2010 satellite image provided by NASA shows heavy oil coloring the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. The image is made from both visible and infrared light, but the slick looks similar to a natural color image made solely from visible light. The heaviest oil is silver with slightly lighter concentrations radiating out in streaks of white. The water is black, though even the dark water is tainted with white, hinting at oil on the water’s surface throughout the image. NASA

  • In this May 1, 2010 satellite photo provided by NASA, the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico closes in on the Gulf Coast in the southern United States. NASA / AP

  • In this May 1, 2010 satellite photo provided by NASA, the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico closes in on the Gulf Coast in the southern United States. Oil from a massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico was starting to ooze ashore, threatening migrating birds, nesting pelicans, river otters and mink along Louisiana's fragile islands and barrier marshes. AP/NASA

  • Handout photo obtained on April 30, 2010 from Eumetsat shows a satellite image taken on April 29 of the growing oil slick off the coast of Louisiana slowly approaching the Mississippi Delta. HANDOUT

  • This NASA Earth Observatory image released April 29, 2010 shows a damaged oil well that may be leaking five times more oil into the Gulf of Mexico than officials first estimated. This view of the slick was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on April 28, 2010. NORMAN KURING / HANDOUT

  • In this April 27, 2010 NASA Aqua satellite image shows the oil spill (dark swirls right of center) in the Gulf of Mexico. Emergency teams are scheduled to begin a controlled burn of a giant oil slick off the US coast in the Gulf of Mexico at 1600 GMT, officials said April 28. NASA HO / HANDOUT

  • An image acquired April 28, 2010 by the NASA Earth Observatory shows the Gulf Coast and near-shore waters as captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite. The Mississippi Delta is at image center, and the oil slick is a silvery swirl, right. AFP PHOTO / NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY HO / HANDOUT

  • This April 27, 2010 NASA/NOAA satellite image shows the position of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. US officials have approved a "controlled burn" to protect ecologically fragile coastlines from a spreading oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, the Coast Guard said April 28. AFP PHOTO/HO/NASA/NOAA HO / HANDOUT

  • This April 27, 2010 NASA/NOAA satellite image shows the position of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. US officials have approved a "controlled burn" to protect ecologically fragile coastlines from a spreading oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, the Coast Guard said April 28.AFP PHOTO/HO/NASA/NOAA HO / HANDOUT

  • An April 25, 2010 satellite photo provided Tuesday by NASA shows the oil slick from the 42,000 gallon-a-day oil leak from a well in the Gulf of Mexico following and explosion at the the Deepwater Horizon platform on April 20. NASA/AP

  • An April 25, 2010 satellite photo provided by NASA shows a portion of the slick, with ships visible at bottom of the frame, from the 42,000 gallon-a-day oil leak from a well in the Gulf of Mexico following and explosion at the the Deepwater Horizon platform on April 20. NASA/AP