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The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth
(NASA Crew Earth Observations)
Astronaut Photography of Earth - Display Record
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IdentificationMission: ISS002 Roll: E Frame: 9767 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS002
Country or Geographic Name: ATMOSPHERIC LIMB
Features: ATMOSPHERIC LIMB, MOON
Center Point: Latitude: Longitude: (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Stereo: (Yes indicates there is an adjacent picture of the same area)
ONC Map ID: JNC Map ID:
Camera Focal Length: 800mm
Camera: E2: Kodak DCS460 Electronic Still Camera
Film: 3060E : 3060 x 2036 pixel CCD, RGBG array.
Percentage of Cloud Cover: (0-10)
GMT Date: 20010808 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 211415 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: -38.4, Longitude: -131.8 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: East
Sun Azimuth: 354 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 211 nautical miles (391 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 36 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 3532
CaptionsSome of the most breathtaking views of Earth taken from space are those that capture our planetís limb. When viewed from the side, the Earth looks like a flat circle, and the atmosphere appears like a halo around it. This glowing halo is known as the limb. Viewed from satellites, space shuttles, and even the moon, the image of this luminous envelope of gases shielding the life on our planet from the dark, cold space beyond rarely fails to fascinate us.
The two images above show the Earthís limb captured by astronauts on the International Space Station. The first is a view of the limb at sunset. The surface of the Earth appears as a dark disk at the bottom with the blackness of outer space draped over the top. Below that image is a glimpse of the barren moon through the Earthís limb. With no atmosphere, and therefore no limb of its own, the edge of the moon arcs crisply against the backdrop of space.
Views of the Earthís limb are as functional as they are beautiful. The Shuttle Columbia (STS 107) carried the Shuttle Ozone Limb Sounding Experiment-2 (SOLSE-2) as a demonstration of new limb-viewing technology that will be used on the next generation of meteorological satellites to monitor ozone change. To learn more about how limb-viewing can be used to monitor ozone, read Measuring Ozone from Space Shuttle Columbia.
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .