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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: 12148 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS011
Country or Geographic Name: SOUTH GEORGIA IS.
Features: CUMBERLAND B., MTS., GL., SNOW
Center Point: Latitude: -54.4 Longitude: -36.6 (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: 20050826 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 135638 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: -48.3, Longitude: -41.5 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: Southeast
Sun Azimuth: 15 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 193 nautical miles (357 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 31 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 2675
CaptionsSouth Georgia Island
There is no permanent human base on South Georgia Island, a British territory in the South Atlantic Ocean that lies 1,300 kilometers east of the Falkland Islands. Using a long lens (800-millimeter focal length) and an oblique (from the side) view, the crew of the International Space Station captured the rugged and isolated landscape of the northern shore of the island.
South Georgia Island is notable on several fronts. The first recorded explorer to land on the island was Captain James Cook aboard the HMS Resolution in 1775. He mapped part of the coastline, but was discouraged by the thick ice cover, lack of vegetation, and steep mountains. Mt. Paget, the highest peak, rises to 2,934 meters (9,625 feet) above sea level, and the island supports 161 glaciers. Cook named the southernmost point of the island “Cape Disappointment” when he realized he had not reached Antarctica.
The high mountains protect the north and eastern coast of the island from the prevailing gales coming from Antarctica and the west. The steep topography also makes deep bays along the coast, which provide habitat for wildlife and anchorages for whaling ships. The island supports major rookeries of penguins and albatrosses, and large seal populations. This view centers on Mt. Paget and Cumberland Bay. The former whaling station Grytviken is located within the bay. Today, the encampment supports the scientific base for the British Antarctic Survey and Bird Island Research Station.
Early in the 20th century, the island figured prominently in Sir Earnest Shackleton’s famous expedition to the Antarctic. When his ship the Endurance became trapped in the Weddell Sea, Shackleton sailed back to the southern coast of South Georgia in 1916, scaled the steep mountain spine of the island, tumbled in to the whaling station Stromness (located just west of this image) and went on to rescue his crew. After Shackleton died several years later, his remains were brought here and buried in Grytviken.
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .