On September 11, 2013 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite flew over the Pacific Northwest and captured a clear-sky view of a late summer afternoon.
The Pacific Northwest region is usually defined as the states of Oregon and Washington within the United States, and the province of British Columbia in Canada. Beginning at the coast of the Pacific Ocean and ending roughly at the Rocky Mountains in the east, the region contains diverse terrain, ecosystems and cultural history. Because of the diversity, the region can be defined in several ways, so the boundaries are somewhat variable.
In this image, black borderlines have been overlain on the image to delineate political boundaries. The Canadian province of British Columbia is found in the far north of the image, and sits on the Pacific Coast. Although it is late summer, snow clings to the tallest peaks of the Coast Mountains and also two mountain ranges inland. A dark green, snow-free trench, called the Rocky Mountain Trench separates the Columbia Mountains (west) and the Rocky Mountains (east). The province of Alberta can be seen in the northeastern corner of the image.
South of these two provinces the borderline between the United States and Canada lies across the 49th parallel. Known as the International Boundary, it is part of the 8,891 km (5,525 mile) long boundary between US and Canada lands (including Alaska) – and the longest international border in the world shared between the same pair of countries.
South of the border, from west to east, are the states of Washington, Idaho and Montana. Oregon sits in the southwest corner of the image. A large bank of low clouds (fog) hangs just off the coast, over the Pacific Ocean.