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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: 7865 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS011
Country or Geographic Name: KAZAKHSTAN
Features: ARAL SEA, NORTHERN SEA BED
Center Point Latitude: 46.0 Center Point Longitude: 59.5 (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: 35
Camera Focal Length: 180mm
Camera: E4: Kodak DCS760C Electronic Still Camera
Film: 3060E : 3060 x 2036 pixel CCD, RGBG array.
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 10 (0-10)
NadirGMT Date: 20050603 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 093027 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 47.5, Longitude: 57.9 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: Southeast
Sun Azimuth: 221 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 187 nautical miles (346 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 60 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 1351
CaptionsRetreating Aral Sea Coastlines
The arrow-shaped island in the Aral Sea (lower-right view, taken in 1988) used to be a 35-kilometer-long visual marker, indicating the Aral Sea to astronauts. An image from the present International Space Station increment (top) shows how much the coastline has changed as the sea level has dropped during the last three decades. Arrows indicate the northern shoreline of the original island. This 2005 image shows that the island is now part of the mainland. Deep blues and greens indicate the water-covered areas. The exposed sea floor is characterized by old shorelines (parallel lines surrounding the island) and outlines of ancient deltas. An intermediate stage in the falling sea level is documented in a view taken in 1996 (lower left), in which the island appears larger and elongated towards the eastern shore of the sea.
Since the 1960s, sea levels have dropped drastically as rivers that maintained the level of the Aral Sea were diverted—completely in later years—for agricultural purposes, especially for growing cotton. A thriving fishing industry in the world’s then fourth-largest lake was largely eliminated as the area of the sea shrank by more than 60 percent. Salts and pesticides that accumulated from agricultural runoff were subsequently exposed on the dry parts of the sea floor. Winds now transport these pollutants into surrounding fields and towns. Although the Kazakhstan government made a concerted effort to increase river inflow into the sea starting in 2003, it will take years before sea levels begin to rise.
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .