Brittany is a cultural region in the northwest of France. Previously a kingdom, then a duchy, Brittany was united with France in 1532. A long history of human occupation extends to the Neolithic as evidenced by the presence of numerous megalithic constructions. The Romans called it Armorica; then for centuries after the 10th century it was allied sometimes with England, and sometimes with France. The western-most region, Leon, is part of Brittany that was once part of the six Celtic nations, where Breton is still spoken. Town names that begin with "Plou-" meaning parish in Breton, include Ploudalmezeau, Plourin, Plouarzel, Plouzane, Plougonvelin and Plougin. The northwestern-most point of metropolitan France is the Island of Ushant (Ile de Ouessant in French). The image was acquired February 16, 2008, covers an area of 15 by 42 km, and is located near 48.4 degrees north latitude, 4.7 degrees west longitude.
With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER images Earth to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched Dec. 18, 1999, on Terra. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and data products.
The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER provides scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping and monitoring of dynamic conditions and temporal change. Example applications are: monitoring glacial advances and retreats; monitoring potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.
The U.S. science team is located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C.
More information about ASTER is available at http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/.