- Original Caption Released with Image:
This is a radar image of San Francisco, California, taken on October 3,1994. The image is about 40 kilometers by 55 kilometers (25 miles by 34 miles) with north toward the upper right. Downtown San Francisco is visible in the center of the image with the city of Oakland east (to the right) across San Francisco Bay. Also visible in the image is the Golden Gate Bridge (left center) and the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland. North of the Bay Bridge is Treasure Island. Alcatraz Island appears as a small dot northwest of Treasure Island.
This image 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 56. The image is centered at 37 degrees north latitude, 122degrees west longitude. This single-frequency SIR-C image was obtained by the L-band (24 cm) radar channel, horizontally transmitted and received. Portions of the Pacific Ocean visible in this image appear very dark as do other smooth surfaces such as airport runways. Suburban areas, with the low-density housing and tree-lined streets that are typical of San Francisco, appear as lighter gray. Areas with high-rise buildings, such as those seen in the downtown areas, appear in very bright white, showing a higher density of housing and streets which run parallel to the radar flight track.
Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and X-band 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: the L-band (24 cm), C-band (6 cm) and X-band (3cm). 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), with the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fuer Luft und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR), the major partner in science, operations and data processing of X-SAR.
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