Astronauts flying on the International Space Station took this photograph of California’s southernmost coastal city. The mouth of San Diego Bay, between North Island and the Point Loma peninsula, is just over a kilometer wide. The rocky coast near Point Loma appears jagged compared to the smooth curve of the sandy beach on North Island.
Despite some thin clouds, the image shows port facilities and the San Diego International Airport. Near the mouth of the bay, numerous civilian boats occupy the marinas at Shelter Island and Harbor Island (south and southwest of the airport).
The curved Coronado peninsula (also termed North Island) is a well-known landmark for astronauts and home to Naval Air Station North Island, the largest aerospace employer in region. The San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge links the peninsula to the mainland. The U.S. West Coast fleet is based across the bay at Naval Base San Diego, with thirteen long piers for warships.
Shadows mark the downtown high-rise buildings in this midday shot. Further inland, hills and canyon cliffs also casts shadows in finger-like patterns. The local interstate highway arcs around the downtown city center, with several other highway curves visible in this otherwise gridded urban landscape.
You can view a broader image of the international San Diego-Tijuana conurbation by clicking here.
Astronaut photograph ISS042-E-117496 was acquired on January 10, 2015, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using an 800 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 42 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab 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 M. Justin Wilkinson, Texas State University, Jacobs Contract at NASA-JSC.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) took this photograph of the San Francisco Bay area in April, 2002. The gray urban footprint of San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and their surrounding suburbs contrast strongly with the green hillsides. Of particular note are the Pacific Ocean water patterns that are highlighted in the sun glint. Sets of internal waves traveling east impinge on the coastline south of San Francisco. At the same time, fresher bay water flows out from the bay beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, creating a large plume traveling westward. Tidal current channels suggest the tidal flow deep in thebay. Because the ISS orbits are not synchronous with the sun, astronauts view the Earth with variable solar illumination angles. This allows them to document phenomena such as the sun reflecting differentially off surface waters in a way that outlines complicated water structures.
There is no permanent human base on South Georgia Island, a British territory in the South Atlantic Ocean that lies 1,300 kilometers east of the Falkland Islands. The crew of the International Space Station captured this image of the rugged and isolated landscape of the northern shore of the island. The first recorded explorer to land on the island was Captain James Cook aboard the HMS Resolution in 1775. He mapped part of the coastline, but was discouraged by the thick ice cover, lack of vegetation, and steep mountains. Mt. Paget, the highest peak, rises to 2,934 meters (9,625 feet) above sea level, and the island supports 161 glaciers. Cook named the southernmost point of the island “Cape Disappointment” when he realized he had not reached Antarctica.