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Resolution Comparison
Reading License Plates and Headlines

With a resolution limit of about 10 centimeters, imagery intelligence satellites cannot read license plates or headlines, nor can they see golfballs.

Imagery collection from some aerial systems, which might readily achieve a resolution of three centimeters, could probably detect a golf ball, and detect but not reliably read the largest full-page headlines of a tabloid newspaper.

A resolution of about one centimeter would reliably read such unusually large headlines but would still fail to resolve license plates or normal headlines.

10 centimeter resolution

3 centimeter resolution

1 centimeter resolution

0.10 centimeter resolution

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Created by John Pike
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Updated Tuesday, December 30, 1997 10:19:25 AM