Orbital View: Stunning San Francisco

At first glance, this looks like an aerial photo:

But nope, it’s actually a satellite image, at a remarkably rare angle and sharpness, as Benjamin Grant explains:

Here is an incredible Overview of the Bay Area, captured by DigitalGlobe’s newest satellite, the WorldView 3. The satellite was a remarkable 800 miles away over the Pacific Ocean when this Overview of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, and downtown San Francisco was captured. The focal length of the satellite’s camera is 32 times longer than a standard DSLR camera, making an image like this possible.

A commenter exclaims, “Superb perspective, as an aerial photographer I can appreciate how remarkable the vantage point is!” But this commenter is a total buzzkill:

It’s a view like this that shows how San Fran is so fragile to global warming. So many houses will be flooded …

To get a sense of which ones, Mother Jones featured a map last year of the Bay Area showing what shoreline in the bay would be flooded in the next hundred years if water levels rise by eight feet—the projected figure from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Here’s a zoomed-out snapshot: