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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 ISS008-E-6009.JPG 28841639435 No No
View ISS008-E-6009.JPG 52344540720 Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS008-E-6009.JPG 52344540720 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS008-E-6009.JPG 55030130322064 No No
View ISS008-E-6009.JPG 16208679981460 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS008-E-6009.JPG 336366619623030 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web siteColor adjusted

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Electronic Image Data

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Mission: ISS008 Roll: E Frame: 6009 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS008
Country or Geographic Name: ATLANTIC OCEAN
Center Point: Latitude: -35.5 Longitude: -52.5 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Stereo: (Yes indicates there is an adjacent picture of the same area)


Camera Tilt: Low Oblique
Camera Focal Length: 80mm
Camera: E4: Kodak DCS760C Electronic Still Camera
Film: 3060E : 3060 x 2036 pixel CCD, RGBG array.


Film Exposure:
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 25 (11-25)


GMT Date: 20031114 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 13____ (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: , Longitude: (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction:
Sun Azimuth: (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: nautical miles (0 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number:


The South Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Argentina and Uruguay is a rich mixing bowl of different water masses. The nutrient-rich waters from the combined Paraná and Uruguay Rivers empty into the South Atlantic through the Rio de la Plata. Under the right conditions, especially in spring and early summer, the nutrients fertilize the offshore surface waters allowing for large plankton blooms.

This unique image captures traces of several different water masses just southeast of Montevideo, Uruguay, and the Rio de la Plata. Close to the coast of Uruguay, the muddy fresh water plume snakes along the coast. Farther offshore, broad swirls of light blue-green and darker water mark a bloom of plankton. To the right, deep blue water covered by puffy clouds suggests another, warmer water mass just north of the bloom.

The patterns of the interfaces between these water masses is complicated and dynamic. One of the objectives of International Space Station crew members is to document regions of plankton blooms. These images can be combined with other data sources such as the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Space Shuttle and International Space Station photographs frequently supply higher levels of detail than satellite imagery because the astronauts use cameras equipped with long telescopic lenses. In this case, the image is oblique (the spacecraft was approximately 45 degrees south), so exact field-of-view and resolution determinations are difficult. However, we estimate the resolution of the near part of the bloom to be between 50 to 100 meters per pixel. If a station crew can capture blooms on successive days or weeks, scientists may be able to determine something about the finer structure of the interacting water masses, the conditions necessary for blooms, and the evolution of the blooms over time.

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