Tuesday, July 17, 2012

NASA's View of the Middle East

As I was searching for pictures I could use on this blog, I ran across an interesting resource.  NASA has a website called "Visible Earth" where they post pictures taken by astronauts and "sensors" they have in orbit.  Within this large collection of pictures, there are several that are focused in on Israel and the Middle East.  Here's a taste of what you can find there (click on the picture for a higher resolution):

Middle East

Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee), Northern Israel

Nile River Delta at Night

The website's terms of use are extremely generous.  There are no licensing fees and they only require that you note that NASA is the owner of the picture, although they do request that you provide a link to the Visible Earth website.

As a Bible teacher, here are links to the pictures I found most interesting (in no particular order):

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=65114
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=66509
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=55152
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=57927
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=40147
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=5462
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=46820
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=52449
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=57864
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=71790
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=69451
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=55146
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=72089
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=70754

This is by no means an exhaustive list.  I found these pictures by doing a search for "Israel," and I'm sure there are more pictures on the site of other biblical regions.  Of the pictures I found, the photo resolutions range from 355 x 600 pixels to 6400 x 8400 pixels, and usually any given picture is available to download in three different resolutions.  Each photo is annotated providing details of when the picture was taken, what is in the picture, how to interpret the colors in the picture, and other helpful information.  All in all this a great, free resource for students and teachers of the Bible.

Thank you, NASA.

Photos courtesy of NASA Visible Earth.