When this astronaut photo was captured on April 9, 2009, the Red
River was experiencing its second round of spring flooding. (Two weeks
earlier, the river had crested at very high levels.)
The Red River flows north between North Dakota and Minnesota from the
confluence of the Bois de Sioux River (south, image lower right) and
the less well drained, meandering Otter Tail River (east, image right).
Floodwaters in these two tributaries appear as black shapes against a
snowy agricultural landscape that is defined by rectangular fields. The
largest flooded areas are low parts of fields (image bottom) along a
canalized western tributary of the Wild Rice River, which itself
becomes a tributary of the Red River just south of Fargo, North Dakota.
Wahpeton, North Dakota, and Breckenridge, Minnesota, sit opposite
each another on the banks of the Red River, and their city-block
patterns stand out as dark gray patches against the snow at image top
right. The main runway of the Henry Stern Airport lies angled northwest
directly south of Wahpeton, and its 1.3-kilometers (0.8-mile) runway
gives a sense of scale to the photo. Access roads to the agricultural
fields tend to follow an orthogonal pattern, while larger roads leading
to the cities cut across this pattern (image upper left, near
Wahpeton). A subtle pattern of drainage ditches and plow lines appears
as thin, parallel lines throughout fields in the scene.
Astronaut photograph ISS019-E-5989
was acquired on April 9, 2009, with a Nikon 2DXs digital camera fitted
with an 800 mm lens, and it is provided by the ISS Crew Earth
Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory,
Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 19 crew. The image in this article has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast. Lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program
supports the laboratory to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that
will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make
those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken
by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by M. Justin Wilkinson, NASA-JSC.