As promised, here are stunningly clear satellite images of the tops of some two million heads during today's inauguration. These images were snapped at 11:19am today by GeoEye-1, the most powerful commercial imaging satellite in the sky, from 423 miles above the trampled grass on the National Mall.
GeoEye-1's optics allow it to discern objects about 16 inches in size, or about the size of home plate. You might notice, though, that the people in these photos look smaller than they should at that resolution. That's because current U.S. Licensing restrictions require that the GeoEye-1's images be resampled to roughly 19.6-inch ground resolution. Boo that.
Still, these images are fantastic. I have to wonder, though, what was the deal with the weird crowd shapes around the Washington Monument? And doesn't the crowd look a little thin in some of the prime spots, like just behind the reflecting pool in front of the Capitol Building, or that patch in front of the western side of the National Gallery of Art. Anyone there who can help figure this out? Can you spot your head?
That wasn't taken at 11:15 this morning...more like 9AM, from the crowd size, light level and shadow angles. The Mall's not full and the configuration around the Washington monument was because of gatherings around Jumbotrons screens.
By 11:15 AM a photo would've shown not one square inch of grass to be seen.
I'm not sure why they're claiming the time of the photo was 11:15, cuz it just isn't true.
Where's the 3rd photo? I see only 2, not the 3 stated to be available.
It is alot closer to 11 than 9 based on the shadow of the Washingtom Monument. It makes a good sundial.
If you look at the full size image, you can actually see another satellite in the top left corner.
The time of the shot would have been around 11.00am. Yep the shadow is good souce. The Washington Memorial a the Capitol Hill are in East-West Direction.
Also thats not a sattelite in the top left corner, but a boat parking. Check out the link below.
treefarmer, that's a dock for boats.......
this is what the coming "food riots" will also look like when no body has jobs.
The monument in this picture would not make a very good sundial from what I understand.
1) For a sundial to be accurate, the gnomon (in this case the monument) must be adjusted for the specific latitude. This one is not.
2) For you to accurately read the time off the sundial you need to know which direction is north. People who are familiar with Washington could probably tell me which way is north in this picture but I am not going to assume that it is up (though it may be).
So just because in the picture the shadow appears to indicate 11:00ish does not mean anything. Due to the orientation of the image and the fact that the monument is vertical not angled for the latitude, this could be indicating any time at all.
yea that is definitely not 11 o'clock. i was there. that is prolly more like 8:30 9:00. cause at 11 it was almost impossible to cross the mall. and there in that picture there are only little clusters of people....and i say "little" psh. there was at least 2.5 million people there. and that definitely doesn't look like even 2 million.
Alright, here's my go.
Most 3D modeling programs for architectural use have shadow option to see how the sun will interact with a building. For those of you looking for a decent free one, check SketchUp by google. Does ok, especially for the money.
At any rate, putting the date at 1/20/2009 and the time at 9:00 leaves a shadow that goes almost perfectly northwest. A shadow around 11:00 conforms to the shadow shown in the picture above. The image on this page has north towards the top, but when you click "zoom out" north is towards the right.
Furthermore, the length of the shadow is about 1,000 feet in the image based on the distance from the base to the entrance to the oval. Again, this is consistent with a shadow cast at around 11:00. The shadow cast at 9:00 would have been much longer due to the low position of the sun. It would have been more like 1500-1600 feet long. Interestingly enough, this would put the tip of the shadow just past the intersection of 17th and Constitution given the length and the angle.
Now, a couple of caveats: First, the monument is on a slight rise. I've attempted to take that into consideration but overall that would have a slight affect on the length of the shadow but would have no affect on its angle. Second: If someone really, really wanted to fake this image I'm pretty sure they'd move the shadow anyways. Come one, it's the first thing everyone thought of and, yes, the big evil government probably knows how to use Autocad or even SketchUp to check their work.
My thought is that it is when it says it is. Slightly before the actual event people were more spread out across the mall then, once things started, people moved forward and crowded in where the view was best. An area that looked "full" and was "full" a moment ago suddenly seems much less so when seen from above.
At any rate, there's a dang lot of people there in spite of the cold. I watched from here in Ohio and am really looking forward to the next 4 (or more...) years. But really, just take it for what it is and enjoy the moment. Looking for hidden conspiracies and motivations was so last president...
WHO CARES ABOUT WHAT TIME THE PHOTO WAS TAKEN???
It says "These images were snapped at 11:19am today by GeoEye-1, the most powerful commercial imaging satellite in the sky, from 423 miles above the trampled grass on the National Mall."
DId you ever stop to think that maybe the Sat is on a different time system? LIke EST, PacTime? Central?
You people are arguing like children over some awesome photos.
There are several reasons for the odd shape of the washington monument crowds. (Follow along on the full size version, not the cropped and rotated small version)
The large open area at the top of the picture is behind the washington monument. Since the monument is on a hill, people standing there would not have a view of much of anything.
The large crowd on the right (the one that the shadow cuts through) are in front of one of the jumbotrons. They are watching it on TV and many of them can probably see the capitol dome.
At the very top of the picture you can see more crowds. No view but two jumbotrons
As for the other less populated areas up close to the capitol, they were ticketed areas and from what I have heard, lots of people with tickets couldn't get through security. They also closed off parts of the unticketed areas on the mall because they filled up.
The small spots you see scattered around with absolutely no people in them were probably barricaded off.
maybe it's 10:19am because of daylight savings.
I'd say the time reported for the image is correct. Shadows point north at mid-day, the sun being at zenith. The Washington Monument's shadow is pointing N-NW. Gnomons' angle notwithstanding, the shadow would still point true north when the sun reaches zenith. Reference the http://rk19-bielefeld-mitte.de/survival/FM/18.htm
Solar noon in D.C on the 20th was at 12:20pm, that's the mid-point, or zenith time, of the sun yesterday at an angle of 31.4 degrees above the apparent horizon. Local time, of course, accounted for daylight savings I'm sure.
Now, we know that the sun 'moves' 15 degrees an hour across the earth, 15x24 = 360, with that we can calculate the time of day from the shadow of the monument alone. Looks to be about 15 degrees west of north... right?
Why's everything gotta be so difficult??
BTW, I figured north by drawing an imaginary perpendicular line from the center of the north face of the W. monument...and measured to the centerline of the shadow. The length of the shadow doesn't figure into this at all, just the centerline of it, and its angle from true north. Shadow length can indicate day of year, if calibrated correctly, each day casts it's own shadow lengths.
And the 'satellite' near the Monument? Would be completely out of focus if you could see it at all despite it being within the field of view... extreme telephoto compresses the field of view... try using a telephoto lens, through a regular screen, focused on anything 100yrds away. You won't see the screen despite it being there.
edit-compressed depth of field, not field of view, although it's both.
I was at the inauguration, and the crowds shown in the GeoEye-1 image are nothing close to the final numbers that were there (and 11:19 AM is pretty close to the final time). I was a ticket holder who was unable to get into the area around the reflecting pool at the capital because it was absolutely full. Further, the area around the Lincoln Memorial was packed on all sides of that reflecting pool, as people chose to watch on the Jumbotrons that had been turned around from the concert two days earlier.
Finally, note that the satellite view shows a much sparser crowd than other pictures from the event such as this one:
and this one:
Based on the crowds at the gates on the south side of the mall, this satellite image was taken at least an hour before stated. Use all the numbers about sundials and gnomons that you want, but the simple fact is that other photos contradict the supposed time of this picture.
Hi - I was also on the Mall yesterday, and while the shadows seem to correspond with my recollection of when the sun briefly warmed us up around 11:00, I am curious how the image could be so clear when the day was far from cloudless, especially at around 11:00 AM. I looked up often at the 2 or 3 high-level surveillance planes circling the city, easily visible along with their ever expanding circle of contrails against the background of the high, thin cloud layer. While there was definitely enough sunlight to cast shadows, it was definitely not the clear day indicated by this photo. I would have expectred this image to be much hazier given the level of atmospheric interference visible from the ground.
Keep in mind that the image in question is fairly low resolution. This means that individuals will tend to blur into the background if they are spaced any distance from their neighbors. Clusters of people, meanwhile, will appear darker at the center and lighter towards the edges. As a result, the clusters stand out especially well and individuals are very difficult to detect. This makes the mall appear far less crowded than it is.
If you are nearsighted, you can see this same effect by simply removing your glasses. If you look at small objects from a distance, they will become very indistinct, especially against a bright background (like light brown, the color of the earth on the mall).
Hope this helps.
I was there, due south of the Washington Monument. The cluster to the east of it was to see the Jumbotron. The bare spaces were where no Jumbotron view was possible. This looks about right for 11 AM.
Too bad we can't get a better view, so I could find myself in the crowd. I'm sure the FBI has me all identified.
I was at the mall when that was taken.
The timing on the photo seems to be very accurate. The following link shows a map that was drawn for the specific purpose of using the monument as a sun dial.
The higher arc is the winter solstice and the lower arc is for the summer. Since we are only 1 month past the winter solstice it would be about 1/6 down from the upper arc.
As for the odd shape of the crowd as stated above it's due to tvs and blockades. There was a lack of big screens for everyone to be able to see and hear what was going on. If you were a person that was in the back of any of those groups you would barely be able to hear or see what was going on.
For some areas without people where you would think there would be there are two reasons for that too. One is that sometime before 10am they wouldn't allow people to cross over the streets that you see running north and south. I tried to cross and they weren't letting anyone. Some people even complained afterward they were basically trapped in the squares they were in. The second is again the lack of tvs. There wouldn't be much reason to be at the back of some of those gaps because not only could you not see the capital due to distance but you couldn't heard or watch the tvs.
I took some pictures as Obama was finishing up his speech. I was at the back of the crowd at the Washington Monument at that point. Comparing this image to where I was at the end it's pretty accurate. While there the tv was very small to my eye and I could barely make out what he was saying.
Finally if you look closely it's interesting to still see people piling in from the metro stations! We're all ants!
the "crowd configuration around the Washington Monument"...that's an easy one. The crowd was predominantly mostly male, and the male species retains a very high iron blood level. Klatuu the Rocket King from the Planet XznanaFlux 27-Pi supercharged the Washington Monument with electricity during the paleo-mammalian Plezomorphic Era with the intent of it being used as a beacon for incoming earthbound ET's. Unbeknownst own to many, it is the single largest standing magnet on earth. So what you're seeing with this type of crowd configuration/orientation is simply the unconscious physiological reaction to both of the magnetic poles resulting of course from the iron content in the blood....a mass human compass if you will.....
Treefarmer, as Gopi pointed out the sattelite you report is some kind of boat dock, even before I investigated a bit further I assumed the position so close to the water it was some kind of boat dock/ramp. The URL he posted was too long and centered someplace else, so I made one of my own, shortened to the following link http://bit.ly/sfDm it will go to google maps and zoom in on the object in the water.
That a giant swarm of multicellular virus' If I ever seen one.
So glad Obama got to become a world leader. I expect nothing less then brilliant from the man.
I find it both amusing and disappointing to read the pervasive political spinning in this dialogue that masquerades as scientific debate.
The Obama partisans seek to "prove" the photo was taken earlier (around 9AM) because they hope to maximize the crowd statistics to show popular support and political strength. It is notable how many of the Obama partisans argue with anecdotal claims, (e.g. I was there, and I saw so I know...). Many of the partisans also leap to the conclusion that the GeoEye Satellite source is part of a conspiracy to minimize the crowd numbers and mislead the public through lies, deception and cherry picking the evidence. (Sound familiar?)
In contrast, the Obama opponents, sceptics and neutrals emphasize the accuracy of the photo and why it was likely taken later (around 11AM).
My take is that one is entitled to one's own opinion, but one is not entitled to one's own facts. After reviewing the comments, I side with the 11 o'clockers...
I just got out my digital camera and compared the images that were time stamped for 11:23 am. We were standing very close to the Washington Monument. Then I looked at images stamped at images stamped 11:41 on my camera. They show the area between the Washington and the reflecting pool were filling up rapidly. I suspect that the image in this article is accurate. BUT it was not taken anywhere near peak capacity which occurred almost an hour later. As I flip through my images, you can actually see the crowds getting thicker and thicker. The posted image has a blank area just West (up) of the Washington Monument that was occupied by a large ant- Guantanimo demonstration just 20 minutes later. The demonstrators were all lined up wearing orange jump suits and hoods. If you can get an image taken just a bit later, you can probably see them all lined up. My personal estimate is that the area between the Washington Monument and the reflecting pool eventually held at least 3 or 4 times as many people as what you see in the posted photo. The only bare grass we could see on the entire mall was between the Washington Monument and 14th(??) street. There seemed to be a blank area because no Jumbotrons were visible in that area.
The only thing I find odd about this photo is the color of the ice on the reflection pool west of the capitol bldg and the absence of ice on the river near the Washington monument. I was standing near the reflection pool and the pool was frozen solid -- I would have guessed that it should appear white on the sat photo.
Wait! I haven't seen my favorite!
Interesting political debate (and that is what it is). The time looks correct to me, based on the shadow. Consider how long the shadow is at mid-day at that latitude this time of year, due to the angle of the earth in the dead of winter, causing the longer shadow pointing north at mid-day. If that doesn't make sense to you, consider cracking open a basic science text book, and reviewing. This isn't hard stuff. Most of us learned this in grade school. If you are confused about the direction of the shadow in the map-like picture, you might want to take a refresher course in map-reading. That shadow at 9 AM would be physically impossible.
But this isn't a technical issue to many folks. It is a political issue -- almost a religious issue. The reason people don't want to face up to scientific reality and admit that the time is correct, is because they are too emotionally invested in this to be objective. The picture, which is a true representation, and the accurate information presented with the picture, do not conform to what some want to be true. The facts are essentially politically incorrect; therefore they are not the approved facts and are wrong. Welcome to the new spirit of tolerance on the left.
I wonder if this type of group thinking is affecting the "consensus" about other issues? (Dare I say, "man-made global warming"? Yes! I dare!) Clearly, we will never be able to divorce politics from science, not even on something so basic as this (which is why claims of "consensus" are so disturbing).
At any rate, the people who want to argue that the time is incorrect are only distracting from the fact that the photo shows a tremendous amount of people in an immense space. Anyone who has visited the Mall knows just how immense it really is.
For those whose almost religious faith in the new President is threatened by open grassy areas at 11:15, relax. It's still a lot of people, and he still gets credit for it.
Someone recently said, "It is time to put away childish things." I agree. It's 11:15 and you can see grass. Get over it.
I'm not going to sit and debate back and forth about what time the photo was taken nor how many people were there. The fact of the matter is, how great is it that that many people were there to witness history? The folks who braved the cold and waited in line, some since the evening before, just to get their spot. I'm pretty sure Bush didn't have a turn out like that (i'm not that in to politics, so pelase don't make any comments about bush or obama or dem. or rep., I'm just simply saying it was a memorable event and it meant a lot to a lot of people).
And just for the record, even if this really was taken at 11am, it doesn't show that many people because they were all still stuck at the PURPLE GATE with a ticket trying to get in. That may have helped fill in some spots on the picture.
I was there in the south standing area, which is the part behind the seated section but bofore the road and reflecting pool.
The time of the photo seems accurate to me. I made into the area at 11:15 and the crowd size looks about right. I too a picture of the stands right in front of the capital at around 10am and they were mostly empty. They look full in this picture.
The empty areas in the left behind the seated area was the "purple ticket" area where many people got left out. You can see the number of people still outside the security check point on that side.
In any case, cool pic!