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Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Satellites capture attack aftermath
Satellite view of Manhattan Spaceimaging.com
The satellite provides a clear view
Image: Spaceimaging.com

By BBC News Online science editor Dr David Whitehouse

The gaping hole left by the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center buildings and the damage to the Pentagon has been seen from space.

Satellite view of Pentagon Spaceimaging.com
The damage to the Pentagon is clearly evident
Image: Spaceimaging.com

A dramatic series of before and after images returned from the Ikonos satellite, in orbit 680 kilometres (423 miles) above the planet, has provided a new perspective on the catastrophe.

The "before" image of the WTC was taken on 30 June, 2000. The image, taken from the south, prominently features the two huge towers.

The dramatic picture taken at 1143 EDT on 12 September, a day after the WTC's collapse, shows just how complete was the destruction of the two towers. Both images have a resolution of just one metre (3.2 feet).

Archive satellite view of World Trade Center Spaceimaging.com
The World Trade Center before the attack
Image: Spaceimaging.com

The "after" image shows an area of white and grey coloured dust and smoke at the location where the 411-m (1,350-ft) towers stood.

Ikonos has also revealed the devastation inflicted on the Pentagon.

Here, the before image was taken on 28 December, 2000. Cars are clearly visible, as is much detail in the building's interior.

Archive satellite view of Pentagon Spaceimaging.com
The Pentagon in more peaceful times
Image: spaceimaging.com

The after image was taken at 1146 EDT on 12 September. It shows the extensive damage to the western side and interior rings of the building.

The smoke plume from the World Trade Towers has also been seen by astronauts on board the International Space Station, who could track it for hundreds of kilometres.

See also:

26 Jan 01 | Sci/Tech
Kumbh Mela pictured from space
27 Jul 01 | Sci/Tech
Etna from space
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