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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: ISS011 Roll: E Frame: 11805 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS011
Country or Geographic Name: USA-ALASKA
Features: MT. MCKINLEY, ALASKA RA., GL.
Center Point: Latitude: 63.1 Longitude: -151.0 (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: 800mm
Camera: E4: Kodak DCS760C Electronic Still Camera
Film: 3060E : 3060 x 2036 pixel CCD, RGBG array.
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 25 (11-25)
GMT Date: 20050814 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 155609 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 51.8, Longitude: -148.0 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: North
Sun Azimuth: 81 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 188 nautical miles (348 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 11 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 2488
CaptionsForest Fire Smoke Surrounding Mt. McKinley
This view of Mt McKinley (Denali)—the highest point in North America (6,194 meters; 20,230 feet)—looks as if it were taken from an aircraft. In fact, an astronaut onboard the International Space Station took advantage of cloud-free skies and a powerful 800-millimeter lens to photograph this peak while the spacecraft was over the Gulf of Alaska, 800 miles to the south of the mountain. The powerful lenses are difficult to use, requiring motion compensation by the astronaut, so these kinds of detailed images of horizon detail are seldom taken. The rising sun casts long shadows across the Kahiltna Glacier that angles down from Denali (left).
In addition to the blueness inherent in all images taken at great distance (the atmosphere scatters blue light more than it does other colors), this image also shows unusually dense atmospheric haze at lower altitudes: all the valleys in the foreground appear murky. The explanation is dramatically portrayed in a Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image taken on the same day, Sunday, August 14, from the Terra satellite. On that day, an enormous smoke pall hung over central Alaska; all the major mountain ranges protruded above the smoke layer, which was held close to the surface by high atmospheric pressure.
The smoke came from more than 100 forest fires burning in the summer heat of Alaska. The MODIS image shows that the smoke on August 14 was far thicker to the north of the Alaska Range where Denali is. The Space Station image shows this denser smoke settled between the Alaska Range and the distant horizon of the Kuskokwim Mountains, 80 miles to the north.
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .