This detailed astronaut photograph illustrates the southern coastline of the Hawaiian island Oahu, including Pearl Harbor. On December 7, 1941, a surprise attack by the Japanese Navy on Pearl Harbor and other targets on the island of Oahu precipitated the entry of the United States into World War II. Today, Pearl Harbor is still in use as a major U.S. Navy installation and, along with Honolulu, is one of the most heavily developed parts of the island.
A comparison between this image and a 2003 astronaut photograph of Pearl Harbor suggests that little observable land use or land cover change has occurred in the area over the past six years. The most significant difference is the presence of more naval vessels in the Reserve Fleet anchorage in Middle Loch (image center). The urban areas of Waipahu, Pearl City, and Aliamanu border the harbor to the northwest, north, and east. The built-up areas, recognizable by linear streets and white rooftops, contrast sharply with the reddish volcanic soils and green vegetation on the surrounding hills.
Astronaut photograph ISS021-E-15710 was acquired on October 27, 2009, with a Nikon D2Xs digital camera fitted with a 400 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 21 crew. The image in this article has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast. Lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by William L. Stefanov, NASA-JSC.
Located on the highly populated Hawaiian island of Oahu just west of Honolulu, Pearl Harbor is the historic center of events on “the day that will live in infamy”—December 7, 1941—when the Japanese fleet launched a surprise air attack on Pearl Harbor and other strategic military targets on Oahu. The ISS-6 Space Station crew obtained this high-resolution image of Pearl Harbor in March 2003, enabling detailed observations of the harbor and its multiple uses.