How to use the best Band Combinations for Landsat 8

The Landsat 8 satellite orbits the the Earth in a sun-synchronous, near-polar orbit, at an altitude of 705 km (438 mi), inclined at 98.2 degrees, and circles the Earth every 99 minutes.  The satellite has a 16-day repeat cycle with an equatorial crossing time: 10:00 a.m. +/- 15 minutes.  

Operational Land Imager (OLI)  -  Built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation
  • Nine spectral bands, including a pan band:
    • Band 1 Visible (0.43 - 0.45 µm) 30 m
    • Band 2 Visible (0.450 - 0.51 µm) 30 m
    • Band 3 Visible (0.53 - 0.59 µm) 30 m
    • Band 4 Red (0.64 - 0.67 µm) 30 m
    • Band 5 Near-Infrared (0.85 - 0.88 µm) 30 m
    • Band 6 SWIR 1(1.57 - 1.65 µm) 30 m
    • Band 7 SWIR 2 (2.11 - 2.29 µm) 30 m
    • Band 8 Panchromatic (PAN) (0.50 - 0.68 µm) 15 m
    • Band 9 Cirrus (1.36 - 1.38 µm) 30 m
Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS)  -  Built by NASA Goddard  Space Flight Center 
  • Two spectral bands:
    • Band 10 TIRS 1 (10.6 - 11.19 µm) 100 m
    • Band 11 TIRS 2 (11.5 - 12.51 µm) 100 m
Here’s a rundown of some common band combinations applied to Landsat 8, displayed as a red, green, blue (RGB):
Natural Color4 3 2
False Color (urban)7 6 4
Color Infrared (vegetation)5 4 3
Agriculture6 5 2
Atmospheric Penetration7 6 5
Healthy Vegetation5 6 2
Land/Water5 6 4
Natural With Atmospheric Removal7 5 3
Shortwave Infrared7 5 4
Vegetation Analysis6 5 4

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