This detailed astronaut photograph illustrates the southern coastline of the Hawaiian island Oahu, including Pearl Harbor. On December 7, 1941—68 years ago—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 United States Navy installation, and along with Honolulu, it 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.