This high-resolution photograph taken by astronauts on board the International Space Station shows details of Athens historic ruins. The detail panel shows actual pixels for the area of the Acropolis—some of the most distinctive features are the Parthenon, and Odeum of Herodes Atticus. Astronauts use a 400 mm lens and a 2 x extender on a digital camera to take these detailed shots through the windows of the space station. By getting immediate feedback from the camera, they learn to track the spacecraft’s motion as it speeds over the Earth and get sharp photographs of small features. These detailed city photographs, with a pixel representing 6 m or less on the ground, have quickly become some of the most popular NASA images downloaded by the public.
ISS005-E-16846, taken 7 October 2002, was provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory at Johnson Space Center. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA-JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.
- ISS - Digital Camera