Browse image
Resolutions offered for this image:
1000 x 663 pixels 540 x 358 pixels 720 x 480 pixels 4256 x 2913 pixels 640 x 438 pixels
Cloud masks available for this image:

Spacecraft nadir point: 31.1° N, 31.7° E

Photo center point: 30.4° N, 32.4° E

Nadir to Photo Center: Southeast

Spacecraft Altitude: 186 nautical miles (344km)
Click for Google map
Width Height Annotated Cropped Purpose Links
1000 pixels 663 pixels No Yes Earth From Space collection Download Image
540 pixels 358 pixels Yes Yes Earth From Space collection Download Image
720 pixels 480 pixels Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site Download Image
4256 pixels 2913 pixels No No Download Image
640 pixels 438 pixels No No Download Image
Other options available:
Download Packaged File
Download a Google Earth KML for this Image
View photo footprint information
Image Caption: Great Bitter Lake, Egypt

The Great Bitter Lake is one of several lakes located along the Suez Canal, which connects the eastern Mediterranean and Red Seas. As the canal is built only to allow ships to travel in a single lane, the Great Bitter Lake is a location where ships can change their position in line (like the passing lane on the highway) before proceeding to either Port Said to the north, or the port of Suez to the south. The lake also provides an intermediate harbor for ships traversing the Canal--a journey that typically takes 14 hours end to end. Several ships, some under power and some anchored, are visible at image right.

Prior to the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, Great Bitter Lake was a large salt flat; in the arid climate, basins rarely accumulate enough water to become true lakes. Large expanses of white and tan sandy sediments at image left and top attest to the desert conditions surrounding the lake. Located at the approximate midpoint of the Suez Canal, Great Bitter Lake is now filled with water derived from both the Red and Mediterranean Seas, and this steady influx of water balances the water lost to evaporation. The town of Fayid (also spelled as Fayed), visible along the western shore of the lake (bottom) is a tourist destination for residents of Cairo, particularly in the summer months.