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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: ISS010 Roll: E Frame: 21797 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS010
Country or Geographic Name: LESSER ANTILLES
Features: SAINT CROIX, VIRGIN ISLANDS
Center Point: Latitude: 17.7 Longitude: -64.7 (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: 46
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: 20050329 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 133410 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 21.0, Longitude: -64.6 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: South
Sun Azimuth: 107 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 191 nautical miles (354 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 45 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 316
CaptionsSea Turtle Beaches, Eastern St. Croix:
The oceans harbor seven species of sea turtles, and all of them are listed under the Endangered Species Act. The Virgin Islands, including St. Croix, provide critical habitat for several of these endangered and threatened species. While the central part of St. Croix has significant beachfront and residential development, important nesting grounds for leatherbacks, hawksbills, and green sea turtles are still found on beaches in Jack, Isaac, and East End Bays, pictured in this astronaut photograph from March 29, 2005. Additional nesting grounds are found on Buck Island. The reefs surrounding the islands also provide a sheltered foraging ground for juvenile turtles.
Female sea turtles return to the same beaches where they were hatched to lay their eggs. They prefer sandy beaches with easy access to deep water. This photo shows why the turtles would choose the southeastern beaches: the barrier reef is diminished in the area compared to the north side of the island, and the water is deeper (darker blue). The females scoop a nest out of the sand, lay their eggs, and cover them. When the hatchlings emerge from their eggs, moonlight glinting off the sea guides them to the water.
White dots scattered across most of the island reveal the extent of development. Residential and tourist development consumes turtle nesting beaches. The presence of people, especially at night, can cause females to abort nesting attempts or to abandon eggs. Artificial lights can disorient the hatchlings as they emerge form their nests. Prior to a nighttime beach patrol and monitoring program operated by the Nature Conservancy, poaching of turtle eggs was also a problem on East End beaches.
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .