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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: ISS016 Roll: E Frame: 30080 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS016
Country or Geographic Name: IRELAND
Features: BLACK HEAD, FOR., GALWAY BAY
Center Point: Latitude: 53.1 Longitude: -9.2 (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: 41
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: 20080217 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 144055 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 51.5, Longitude: -7.2 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: Northwest
Sun Azimuth: 211 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 176 nautical miles (326 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 22 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 950
CaptionsBurren Plateau, County Clare, Ireland
Adjoining Galway Bay to the north, the Burren (from the Gaelic for “stony place”) Plateau is a example of karst terrain. Karst terrain is generally formed when sedimentary rocks are dissolved by groundwater. Most karst occurs in limestones or dolostones – rocks made primarily from the minerals calcite or dolomite. Groundwater and surface water moves through fractures in the rock, dissolving it over time, forming voids and channels. As the voids grow and connect, greater dissolution of the rock occurs; when overlying rock and soil can no longer be supported, collapse features such as sinkholes form. Over time, this can turn an originally flat landscape into one with significant topography.
This astronaut photograph illustrates the northwestern-most portion of the Burren Plateau, characterized by the distinctive bare exposures of almost horizontal, layered Paleozoic limestone (light gray, with brown concentric banding) that form Gleninagh Mountain at image center. At 345 meters above sea level, Slieve Elva (image lower left) - capped with younger dark brown shale and bordered by dark green vegetation – is the highest point on the Plateau. The rounded character of limestone hills and intervening valleys of Gleninagh Mountain are the result of both dissolution of the limestone by water, and removal of loose material by past glaciers.
A very thin cloud cover is visible over Gleninagh Mountain. Despite the barren character of this portion of the Burren Plateau, thin soils are present and the area is used for grazing of cattle during the wintertime. Numerous small springs – another hallmark of karst terrain, as surface streams tend to disappear underground via fractures – provide water for both cattle and human use in this otherwise dry landscape.
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .