Aircraft detection above clouds by sentinel-2 msi parallax

Peder Heiselberg, Henning Heiselberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Detection of aircrafts in satellite images is a challenging problem when the background is strongly reflective clouds with varying transparency. We develop a fast and effective detection algorithm that can find almost all aircrafts above and between clouds in Sentinel-2 multispectral images. It exploits the time delay of a few seconds between the recorded multispectral images such that a moving aircraft is observed at different positions due to parallax effects. The aircraft speed, heading and altitude are also calculated accurately. Analysing images over the English Channel during fall 2020, we obtain a detection accuracy of 80%, where the most of the remaining were covered by clouds. We also analyse images in the 1.38 µm water absorption band, where only 61% of the aircrafts are detected.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3016
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number15
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/).


  • Aircrafts
  • Clouds
  • Multispectral imaging
  • Paral-lax
  • Planebow
  • Remote sensing
  • Sentinel-2
  • Velocities


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