Montreal, the largest city in the mostly French-speaking Province of
Quebec, is considered by some to be the cultural capital of Canada. The
metropolitan area (image center) is the country’s second-largest,
having been surpassed by Toronto in 1976. While the city of Montreal is
located on the Island of Montreal, at the confluence of the St. Lawrence
(image center) and Ottawa rivers (not visible), the city takes its name
from Mont Royal,
located at the city’s center. Several smaller urban areas form a loose
ring around the metropolitan area: Sorel-Tracy, Saint-Hyacinthe,
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Saint-Jerome, and
Joliette are among those that can be readily identified.
This astronaut photograph of the city lights of Montreal illustrates
the extent of urbanization. Major roadways and industrial areas are
traced by bright white lighting, while the adjacent residential and
commercial lands are characterized by more diffuse yellow-gold lighting.
Rivers and other water bodies appear black, while the surrounding
countryside is faintly illuminated by moonlight. Blurry areas at image
top and bottom right are caused by cloud cover.
The International Space Station was located over the Pennsylvania-New
York border (near Warren, Pa.) at the time this image was taken—a
ground distance of approximately 600 kilometers (370 miles) southwest of
Montreal. This distance from the camera target, coupled with the
oblique (inclined) viewing angle from the ISS, results in the
foreshortened appearance of urban areas in the image.
Astronaut photograph ISS026-E-12474
was acquired on December 24, 2010, with a Nikon D3S digital camera
using a 180 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations
experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space
Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 26 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast. Lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab
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. Caption by William L. Stefanov, NASA-JSC.