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Satellite tracks Olympic site

What a difference two years can make, especially when you're getting ready for the 2012 Olympics. Check out our interactive graphic showing how much progress has been made on London's 500-acre Olympic Park since 2009, based on the changing imagery from the GeoEye1 satellite. And just in case the fancy before-and-after graphic doesn't work in your browser, here are the satellite pictures presented in the traditional way:

Among the most obvious changes: The Olympic Stadium has a more finished look. The Aquatics Center and Water Polo Arena have been built (to the right of the stadium). The Basketball Arena has been added to the scene (that's the squarish, white-roofed structure toward the top of the picture). The International Broadcast Center takes up much more real estate at upper left. And there's been lots of landscaping.

The GeoEye 1 satellite, operated by the Colorado-based GeoEye commercial venture, captures imagery as it races over Earth at 17,000 mph, at a height of 425 miles. That's almost twice as high as the International Space Station. You can bet that GeoEye will continue to watch over the site during the buildup to the London Games, which begin next July 27.

Play around with the imagery using our interactive graphic, and while you're clicking around, check out this slideshow of Olympic venues, Universal Sports' advance coverage of the 2012 Olympics and London 2012's information about Olympic Park.

This time-lapse look at Olympic Park serves as today's offering from the Cosmic Log Space Advent Calendar, which features a view of Earth from space every day until Christmas. Check back with us on Saturday for the next picture, and catch up on the full calendar here:

Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.