The Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, is the warmest city ever to host the Winter Olympic Games, which open on Feb. 7, 2014, and run through Feb. 23. This north-looking image, acquired on Jan. 4, 2014, by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft, shows the Sochi Olympic Park Coastal Cluster -- the circular area on the shoreline in the bottom center of the image -- which was built for Olympic indoor sports. Even curling has its own arena alongside multiple arenas for hockey and skating. The Olympic alpine events will take place at the Mountain Cluster, located in a snow-capped valley at the top right of the image. Sochi itself, a city of about 400,000, is not visible in the picture. It's farther west (left) along the coast, past the airport at bottom left.
In the image, red indicates vegetation, white is snow, buildings are gray and the ocean is dark blue. The area imaged is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) from west to east (left to right) at the coastline and 25 miles (41 kilometers) from front to back. Height is exaggerated 1.5 times. The image was created from the ASTER visible and near-infrared bands, draped over ASTER-derived digital elevation data.
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/.