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The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth
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Astronaut Photography of Earth - Display Record
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IdentificationMission: ISS009 Roll: E Frame: 18679 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS009
Country or Geographic Name: KAZAKHSTAN
Features: URAL RIVER DELTA, CANALS
Center Point: Latitude: 46.9 Longitude: 51.7 (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: High Oblique
Camera Focal Length: 400mm
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: 20040817 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 075203 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 48.4, Longitude: 47.3 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: East
Sun Azimuth: 154 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 187 nautical miles (346 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 53 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 792
CaptionsUral River Delta, Kazakhstan
The Ural River is one of the two major rivers (the other is the Volga) that empty into the northern coast of the Caspian Sea, creating extensive wetlands. This image shows details of the Ural’s tree-like (or “digitate”) delta. This type of delta forms when wave action is low, and sediment content in the river is high. New distributary channels form in the delta when the river breaches natural levees formed by sediment deposition.
The dark regions running along the coast are the wetlands, which support high biodiversity due to the unique environment and relative isolation of the Caspian Sea. The coastal wetlands are especially important to migrating birds as an important stop-over along the Asian flyway.
The Ural River’s trek to the Caspian is long —roughly 2,400 kilometers (1,500 miles) southward from the Ural Mountains in Russia to empty into the northern Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan. Although the current sea level of the Caspian is more than 26 meters below global mean sea level, the water levels have risen roughly 2 meters since 1980. This increase has caused flooding of much of the coastal region, including the Ural Delta, and it endangers these coastal wetland environments. The coastal flooding has also impacted the oil exploration infrastructure bordering the Caspian coastline.
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