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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: 9756 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS011
Country or Geographic Name: NAMIBIA
Features: DUNES, STRANDPLAIN, BREAKERS
Center Point: Latitude: -24.7 Longitude: 14.8 (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: 38
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: 20050628 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 074224 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: -27.1, Longitude: 15.5 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: North
Sun Azimuth: 48 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 191 nautical miles (354 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 20 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 1743
CaptionsDune Patterns, Namib Desert, Namibia
This detailed view of the remote Conception Bay sector of the Namibian coastline shows breakers and a strand plain on the left and complex dunes of the Namib dune sea on the right. A strand plain is a series of dunes, usually associated with and parallel to a beach, sometimes containing small creeks or lakes. The complexity and regularity of dune patterns in the dune sea of the Namib Desert have attracted the attention of geologists for decades; however, they remain poorly understood. The flat strand plain (~4 kilometers shown here) shows a series of wet zones that appear black where seawater seeps inland and evaporates. These patches are aligned with the persistent southerly winds, some of the strongest of any coastal desert.
The southerlies blow sand from the beaches—where it is constantly mobilized by wave action—and pile it up as dunes many tens of feet high. Note how the crests of the dunes, catching the morning light in this view, are aligned in a marked northwest-southeast orientation. These crests form transverse to the formative wind (i.e. crosswise), revealing an interesting feedback with the wind. The dunes act as obstacles, and obstacles cause winds to be deflected significantly to the right, in the southern hemisphere—in effect reorienting the southerly wind as a southwesterly wind. The higher the sand dunes grow, the more this effect comes into play.
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .