On December 6, 1906, aerial photographs of Stonehenge were shown at the Society of Antiquaries of London, England. A member of the Royal Engineers took the photographs from a hydrogen balloon a few months earlier. These aerial photographs were among of the first to be used in studying archaeological sites.

The technology used in aerial photography, already 50 years old, was slowly improving. Balloons with hot air or other gases, kites, rockets, and even pigeons were used to carry cameras.

Once airplanes were widely available, though, aerial photography took off! Aerial photographs are often used in weather forecasting, where meteorologists examine cloud formations to predict temperature or precipitation patterns., Aerial photographs are also used for measuring glaciers’ winter growth and summer melt, identifying spots where forest trees are missing, and planning a city’s growth.

aerial photograph
Noun

picture of part of the Earth's surface, usually taken from an airplane.

archaeological site
Noun

place where evidence of the past is being studied by scientists.

balloon
Noun

bag, often made of rubber, filled with air or another gas.

Noun

visible mass of tiny water droplets or ice crystals in Earth's atmosphere.

forecast
Verb

to predict, especially the weather.

forest
Noun

ecosystem filled with trees and underbrush.

Noun

mass of ice that moves slowly over land.

meteorologist
Noun

person who studies patterns and changes in Earth's atmosphere.

Noun

all forms in which water falls to Earth from the atmosphere.

predict
Verb

to know the outcome of a situation in advance.

Stonehenge
Noun

prehistoric monument in Salisbury Plain, England.

technology
Noun

the science of using tools and complex machines to make human life easier or more profitable.

Noun

degree of hotness or coldness measured by a thermometer with a numerical scale.

Noun

state of the atmosphere, including temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation, and cloudiness.

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