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(NASA Crew Earth Observations)

Photographing the Earth from the International Space Station

Astronaut Photography of Earth - Display Record


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File NameFile Size (bytes)WidthHeightAnnotatedCroppedPurposeComments
View ISS007-E-10974.JPG 12355540405 No No NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS007-E-10974.JPG 12355540405 Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS007-E-10974.JPG 14939540405 Photographic Highlights(resized 540 px images)
View ISS007-E-10974.JPG 23624639435 No No
View ISS007-E-10974.JPG 45058540405 Scientist RequestOnline Publication
View ISS007-E-10974.JPG 691571024768 Photographic Highlights(actual files used)
View ISS007-E-10974.JPG 2357991024768 Yes PresentationColor adjusted
View ISS007-E-10974.JPG 5112041000661 No No NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS007-E-10974.JPG 60538130322064 No No
View ISS007-E-10974_2.JPG 247773861444068 No No PresentationEarth Sciences Results Briefing/Ed Lu
View ISS007-E-10974.TIF 1827808430322008 No No Publisher Request

Electronic Image Data

Camera Files >> No sound file available.


Mission: ISS007 Roll: E Frame: 10974 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS007
Country or Geographic Name: ASIA
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)


Camera Tilt: High Oblique
Camera Focal Length: 400mm
Camera: E4: Kodak DCS760C Electronic Still Camera
Film: 3060E : 3060 x 2036 pixel CCD, RGBG array.


Film Exposure:
Percentage of Cloud Cover: (0-10)


GMT Date: 20030727 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 171556 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 46.5, Longitude: 96.2 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction: West
Sun Azimuth: 353 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 203 nautical miles (376 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: -24 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 2733


The sliver of the setting moon and clouds that shine at night—noctilucent clouds—caught the eye of astronaut Ed Lu aboard the International Space Station (ISS) last week.

Noctilucent clouds are very high clouds that look like cirrus clouds, but are much higher (75-90 km above the Earth’s surface) than clouds that we observe every day. They are optically thin and can only be observed during twilight hours, when the sun is just below the horizon and only shines on the uppermost atmosphere. In this image, the limb of the Earth at the bottom transitions into the orange-colored troposphere, the lowest and most dense portion of the Earth’s atmosphere. The troposphere ends abruptly at the tropopause, which appears in the image as the sharp boundary between the orange- and blue- colored atmosphere. The silvery-blue noctilucent clouds are far above this boundary.

This image was taken July 27, 2003 when the ISS was over central Asia. June and July is the season for noctilucent clouds in the northern hemisphere—they form in the polar mesosphere, generally above 50 degrees latitude. Recent studies address why noctilucent clouds exist, whether the frequency of occurrence has increased throughout the 20th century (some researchers believe they have), and whether their frequency reflects human activities. Astronauts and cosmonauts have observed them over northern latitudes (Europe, Russia) in the past, but this summer’s display has been remarkable.

Zahn, U. , Are Noctilucent Clouds Truly a “Miner’s Canary” for Global Change?, Eos, Vol. 84, No. 28, July 15, 2003

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