Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain
  • Credit:

    Astronaut photograph ISS009-E-9987 was taken June 3, 2004 with a Kodak DCS760 digital camera equipped with a 180 mm lens, and are provided by the Earth Observations Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. 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.

The roofs of Barcelona’s buildings appear as a widespread pink swath on the Mediterranean coastal plain, between forested hills (dark green, top) and the sea. The Llobregat River enters the view top center, cuts through a canyon in the hills and historically constructed a broad, convex delta south of the forested hills. Channelization of the Llobregat River to control flooding has encouraged development of the delta for a variety of urban and agricultural land uses. Barcelona’s airport is located in the central portion of the delta, while the western portion is used for intensive agriculture (light green areas).

Angular patterns on the coast represent the docks of Spain’s largest port, on the east side of the delta. Montjüic mountain is directly northeast of the port. The Olympic village, built for the 1992 Olympic Games, occupies the waterfront east of the docks, with the old city just inland. The Besós River, also channelized to control flooding, defines the eastern part of the city. The population of the city proper, roughly between the rivers—a distance of 20 km—is ~1.5 million, but the entire metropolitan region reaches 4 million.

An interesting feature captured in this photograph is a white linear condensation trail silhouetted against the sea (right of image). The shadow of the contrail lies to the north (just offshore the port). Large vessels and their wakes appear as dots offshore just south of the condensation trail.

Images & Animations


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  • Data Date:

    June 3, 2004
  • Visualization Date:

    July 5, 2004
  • Sensor(s):

    ISS - Digital Camera
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration