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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: ISS013 Roll: E Frame: 16599 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS013
Country or Geographic Name: MEXICO
Features: SNGLNT., PUNTA PERIHUETE, WAVES
Center Point: Latitude: 25.2 Longitude: -108.4 (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: 2
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: 20060509 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 191033 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 25.2, Longitude: -108.3 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: West
Sun Azimuth: 182 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 187 nautical miles (346 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 82 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 2711
CaptionsWave Sets and Tidal Currents, Gulf of California
Sunglint (reflection of sunlight from the water surface directly back to the camera or satellite sensor) off the Gulf of California gives the water a silver-gray appearance rather than the normal azure color in this astronaut photograph. (Read Sunglint in Astronaut Photography of Earth for a more detailed explanation of sunglint.) The sunglint allows us to see several active features which wouldn’t be visible otherwise. The image captures a moment in time displaying very active and complex ocean wave dynamics. In this view of Punta Perihuete, Mexico, we can see three major features: biological or man-made oils floating on the surface; the out-going tidal current; and complex wave patterns. The oils on the surface are recognizable as light-grey, curved and variable-width streamers shaped by the local winds and currents. Plankton, fish, natural oil seeps, and boats dumping their bilges are all potential sources for these oils.
This image was taken at 1:10 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time (19:10 Greenwich Mean Time), and low tide occurred later at 2:44 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time (20:44 Greenwich Mean Time). The outgoing, or ebb, current from Playa Colorado Bay is visible at upper right (the Bay itself is not shown). The current brings with it fresher and less dense water that appears as an elongated lens-shape as it flows on top of saltier Gulf water. This density difference causes obvious shear zones along the current boundary, and also a dampening of the ocean wave sets. Offshore, complex wave patterns, including intersecting wave sets, result from a variety of interactions of the moving water with the coastline. The sunglint allows identification of wave sets that are nearly perpendicular to the shoreline (bottom center), another wave pattern parallel to the shore (top center), and wave patterns caused by reflection and refraction (deflecting of the wave off a straight path) along a shoal area that also marks the boundary of the fresh water lens.
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .