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(NASA Crew Earth Observations)

Photographing the Earth from the International Space Station

Astronaut Photography of Earth - Display Record


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File NameFile Size (bytes)WidthHeightAnnotatedCroppedPurposeComments
View ISS012-E-21250.JPG 5672115201008 No No Not enhancedConverted to JPEG from a raw image
View ISS012-E-21250.JPG 63653639435 No No
View ISS012-E-21250.JPG 436963540820 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS012-E-21250.JPG 125009010001518 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site

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Mission: ISS012 Roll: E Frame: 21250 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS012
Country or Geographic Name: CHINA
Center Point: Latitude: 41.0 Longitude: 119.0 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Stereo: (Yes indicates there is an adjacent picture of the same area)


Camera Tilt: High Oblique
Camera Focal Length: 50mm
Camera: E4: Kodak DCS760C Electronic Still Camera
Film: 3060E : 3060 x 2036 pixel CCD, RGBG array.


Film Exposure:
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 25 (11-25)


GMT Date: 20060321 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 075704 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 38.3, Longitude: 123.2 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction: Northwest
Sun Azimuth: 251 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 185 nautical miles (343 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 23 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 1931


Dust and Smog in Northeast China

Much of the land surface is obscured in this oblique image of the North China Plain and parts of Inner Mongolia. In this image, a mass of gray smog—mainly industrial pollution and smoke from domestic burning—obscures Beijing and surrounding cities. Numerous plumes with their source points appear within the mass. Beijing suffers some of the worst air pollution in the world from these chronic sources, and the characteristic colors and textures of the smog can be easily seen through the windows of the International Space Station. The pale brown material in Bo Hai Bay, about 300 kilometers east of Beijing, is sediment from the Yellow River and other rivers.

Separated from the smog mass by a band of puffy, white cumulus clouds is a light brown plume of dust. The line of white clouds has developed along the steep slope that separates the heavily populated North China Plain—the location of the largest population concentration on Earth—and the sparsely populated semi-desert plains of Inner Mongolia. Most Northern Hemisphere deserts saw dust storms in the spring of 2006, and the Gobi and Taklimakan Deserts of western China were no exception. Dust plumes originating in these deserts typically extend hundreds of kilometers eastward, regularly depositing dust on Beijing, the Korean Peninsula, and Japan. Some plumes even extend over the Pacific Ocean. In extreme cases, visible masses of Gobi-derived dust have reached North America.

An astronaut handheld-camera image taken in 1996 shows a broad corridor of smog moving off the mainland out into the Pacific Ocean from China’s more southerly population center near Taiwan.

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