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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: ISS006 Roll: E Frame: 28546 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS006
Country or Geographic Name: MEXICO
Features: IZTACCIHUATL, POPOCATAPETL
Center Point: Latitude: 19.1 Longitude: -98.6 (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:
CameraCamera Tilt: 38
Camera Focal Length: 800mm
Camera: E4: Kodak DCS760C Electronic Still Camera
Film: 3060E : 3060 x 2036 pixel CCD, RGBG array.
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 10 (0-10)
GMT Date: 20030216 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 153619 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 21.3, Longitude: -96.8 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: Southwest
Sun Azimuth: 122 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 215 nautical miles (398 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 34 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 220
CaptionsPopocatepetl and Iztaccíhuatl Volcanoes, Mexico
As part of the circum-Pacific “Ring of Fire,” Mexico hosts several of the world’s most continually active volcanoes, including the massive Popocatepetl (Aztec for “smoking mountain.”) This detailed, oblique astronaut photograph also depicts a neighboring volcano, Iztaccíhuatl (the “Woman in White.”) With North to the right in the scene, the view is a westward-looking perspective.
The faint plume emanating from Popocatepetl’s 250- to 450-meter-deep summit crater attests to the significant, ever-present hazard the volcano represents to the 25 million people living in the region, including the nearby city of Amecameca, as well as the metropolitan centers of Mexico City to the northwest and Puebla to the east.
Popocatepetl has produced small, intermittent eruptions since 1994. In addition to the constant danger of eruptions producing ash deposits, pyroclastic flows, and lava (see an earlier astronaut photograph of Popocatepetl erupting), the summit of Popocatepetl also hosts glaciers. These can melt during eruptions to form dangerous mudflows that blanket areas to the south.
In contrast to Popocatepetl’s well-defined symmetrical cone, Iztaccíhuatl is formed from several overlapping smaller cones that trend north-northwest to south-southeast. Glaciers and year-round snow are also present on Iztaccíhuatl (white regions along the peaks). Deep valleys have been eroded into the massive apron of ash and pumice deposits, glacial outwash, and alluvium to the east of the volcano. Despite its close proximity, similar age, and similar geologic character to Popocatepetl, Iztaccíhuatl has not erupted in historic times. This has encouraged the establishment of numerous agricultural fields (visible as faint rectilinear patterns in the lower half of the image) on the eastern flank of the mountain.
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .