Pearl Harbor from the heavens

Satellite Imaging / GeoEye

The Ikonos satellite captured this image of Ford Island at Pearl Harbor in 2003. Labels indicate the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Utah Memorial. The Battleship Missouri is also visible, docked near the Arizona Memorial.

Exactly 69 years ago, Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor became famous for “a date which willl live in infamy”: Japan’s air attack on the island’s U.S. naval installation on Dec. 7, 1941. The United States immediately entered World War II, opposing the Axis powers, and the rest is … well, history. Today, the anniversary is being commemorated with ceremonies as well as images from that terrible time.

This image shows a far more peaceful scene: Ford Island, as seen by the Ikonos satellite in 2003 from an altitude of 423 miles. Labels indicate the locations of the USS Arizona Monument and the USS Utah Monument, and you can also make out the Battlefield Missouri, docked near the Arizona site. (The Missouri was still being built when Pearl Harbor happened.) As large as it is, this version of the image doesn’t do justice to the satellite’s camera resolution. You should take a look at the larger picture on the Satellite Imaging website. To see how U.S. ships were positioned on the day of the 1941 attack, check out this diagram of “Battleship Row.” And don’t miss this video clip from “NBC Nightly News.”

The Pearl Harbor anniversary is a good reminder that the holiday season is a time to remember past sacrifices and struggles as well. It’s a bittersweet offering for the Cosmic Log Space Advent Calendar, which is highlighting views of Earth from space every day until Christmas. Here are some links to the previous images in the set, plus three other Advent calendars with space themes:

* From Day 1: The Cosmic Log Advent Calendar so far * Door 2 for Dec. 2: ‘Alien’ lake seen from space * Door 3 for Dec. 3: Egypt’s river of light * Door 4 for Dec. 4: Tallest building reaches for the sky * Door 5 for Dec. 5: Russia’s dazzling delta * Door 6 for Dec. 6: Space skipper vs. the world * The Big Picture at Hubble Advent calendar * Planetary Society: Solar system Advent calendar * Zooniverse Advent calendar

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