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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 ISS017-E-13856.JPG 95013640437 No No
View ISS017-E-13856.JPG 240192540357 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS017-E-13856_2.JPG 282864540444 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS017-E-13856.JPG 72222630722098 No No

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Mission: ISS017 Roll: E Frame: 13856 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS017
Country or Geographic Name: BRAZIL
Center Point: Latitude: -2.7 Longitude: -57.6 (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: 400mm
Camera: N2: Nikon D2Xs
Film: 4288E : 4288 x 2848 pixel CMOS sensor, RGBG imager color filter.


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


GMT Date: 20080819 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 205358 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: -4.9, Longitude: -48.8 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction: West
Sun Azimuth: 283 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 196 nautical miles (363 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 5 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 3855


Sunglint on the Amazon River, Brazil

The setting sun glints off the Amazon River and numerous lakes in its floodplain in this astronaut photograph from August 19, 2008. Large areas of sunglint are common in oblique views (shot from an angle, rather than looking straight down from the spacecraft). About 150 kilometers of the sinuous Amazon is shown here; the area is about 1,000 kilometers inland from the Atlantic Ocean. Arrows show the generally eastward direction of flow of the Amazon. One of the great river’s tributaries, the Uatumã River, enters on the north side of the Amazon (top center). A small side channel, or distributary, of the Madeira River (beyond the left edge of the image) enters the view from the left. Tupinambarama Island occupies the swampy wetlands between the Amazon and Madeira rivers.

Sunglint images reveal great detail in surface water—in this case the marked difference between the smooth outline of the Amazon and the jagged shoreline of the Uatumã River. The jagged shoreline results from valley sides being eroded in relatively hard rocks. Because the Amazon flows in its own soft sediment, its huge water discharge smoothes its banks. The Uatumã River in this area has become a ria, a dammed valley. Sediment from the Amazon has created the dam. Another dammed valley is visible at bottom center of the scene.

Although no smoke plumes from forest fires are visible in the view, two kinds of evidence show that there is smoke in the atmosphere. The coppery color of the sunglint is typically produced by smoke particles and other aerosols scattering yellow and red light. Second, a small patch of cloud (image right) casts a distinct shadow in the atmosphere. The shadow is visible because smoke particles in the surrounding sunlit parts of the atmosphere are reflecting light back to the camera.

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