The city of Washington, D.C., is shown is this space radar image from NASA's Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-band Synthetic Aperture.

The city of Washington, D.C., is shown is this space radar image. Images like these are useful tools for urban planners and managers, who use them to map and monitor land use patterns. Downtown Washington is the bright area between the Potomac (upper center to lower left) and Anacostia (middle right) rivers. The dark cross shape that is formed by the National Mall, Tidal Basin, the White House and Ellipse is seen in the center of the image. Arlington National Cemetery is the dark blue area on the Virginia (left) side of the Potomac River near the center of the image. The Pentagon is visible in bright white and red, south of the cemetery. Due to the alignment of the radar and the streets, the avenues that form the boundary between Washington and Maryland appear as bright red lines in the top, right and bottom parts of the image, parallel to the image borders.

This image is centered at 38.85 degrees north latitude, 77.05 degrees west longitude. North is toward the upper right. The area shown is approximately 29 km by 26 km (18 miles by 16 miles). Colors are assigned to different frequencies and polarizations of the radar as follows: Red is the L-band horizontally transmitted, horizontally received; green is the L-band horizontally transmitted, vertically received; blue is the C-band horizontally transmitted, vertically received. The image was acquired by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-band Synthetic Aperture (SIR-C/X-SAR) imaging radar when it flew aboard the space shuttle Endeavour on April 18, 1994. SIR-C/X-SAR, a joint mission of the German, Italian and United States space agencies, is part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth program.

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