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This false-color L-band image of the Manaus region of Brazil was acquired by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) aboard the space shuttle Endeavour on orbit 46 of the mission. The area shown is approximately 8 kilometers by 40 kilometers (5 by 25 miles). At the top of the image are the Solimoes and Rio Negro rivers just before they combine at Manaus to form the Amazon River. The image is centered at about 3 degrees south latitude, and 61 degrees west longitude. The false colors are created by displaying three L-band polarization channels; red areas correspond to high backscatter at HH polarization, while green areas exhibit high backscatter at HV polarization. Blue areas show low returns at VV polarization; hence the bright blue colors of the smooth river surfaces. Using this coloring scheme, green areas in the image are heavily forested, while blue areas are either cleared forest or open water. The yellow and red areas are flooded forest. Between Rio Solimoes and Rio Negro a road can be seen running from some cleared areas (visible as blue rectangles north of Rio Solimoes) north towards a tributary of Rio Negro.
Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and X-Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) is part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth. The radars illuminate Earth with microwaves allowing detailed observations at any time, regardless of weather or sunlight conditions. SIR-C/X-SAR uses three microwave wavelengths: L-band (24 cm), C-band (6 cm) and X-band (3 cm). The multi-frequency data will be used by the international scientific community to better understand the global environment and how it is changing. The SIR-C/X-SAR data, complemented by aircraft and ground studies, will give scientists clearer insights into those environmental changes which are caused by nature and those changes which are induced by human activity.
SIR-C was developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. X-SAR was developed by the Dornier and Alenia Spazio companies for the German space agency, Deutsche Agentur fuer Raumfahrtangelegenheiten (DARA), and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI).
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