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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-18044.JPG 54305640437 No No
View ISS017-E-18044.JPG 223614540346 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS017-E-18044.JPG 43765530722098 No No
View ISS017-E-18044.JPG 6740021000641 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site

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Mission: ISS017 Roll: E Frame: 18044 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS017
Country or Geographic Name: MEXICO
Center Point: Latitude: 29.1 Longitude: -113.5 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

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


Camera Tilt: 18
Camera Focal Length: 800mm
Camera: N2: Nikon D2Xs
Film: 4288E : 4288 x 2848 pixel CMOS sensor, RGBG imager color filter.


Film Exposure:
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 10 (0-10)


GMT Date: 20081001 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 211501 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 30.1, Longitude: -113.4 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction: South
Sun Azimuth: 224 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 190 nautical miles (352 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 47 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 532


Coronado Island and the Gulf of California, Mexico

Located in the Bahia de los Angeles—Bay of the Angels—Isla Coronado (Coronado Island, also known as “Smith Island” on some maps) sits in the Gulf of California, just off the eastern shoreline of Mexico. The island is approximately 7 km long, and is dominated by Volcan (volcano) Coronado on the northern end. The date of last eruption of the volcano is not known, but gas and steam activity was last recorded in 1539.

Coronado Island—together with nearby Isla Mitlan and Isla Calavera—has an arid climate and is sparsely vegetated. Despite the harshness of the environment, sea lion colonies can be found on the island, and the Bahia de los Angeles is a popular sport fishing location. Partly in response to increased environmental pressure on the islands from both fishing and tourism, local groups developed a management and conservation plan for the islands in the bay, with international support, in the late 1990s.

The island is an important piece of the ecology of the Gulf of California. In 1940, marine biologist Ed Ricketts, together with his friend, author John Steinbeck, conducted an expedition and collecting trip in the Sea of Cortez (now known as the Gulf of California) to explore the rich ecology of the intertidal zone. Coronado Island and the Bahia de los Angeles were part of that expedition. The resulting book by Steinbeck and Ricketts, Sea of Cortez, remains a classic document of the natural history and ecology of the Gulf of California. At the time, the marine environment around Coronado appeared to Ricketts and Steinbeck as sterile (in their words, “burned”) compared to the rest of the Gulf.

Today, the uninhabited island is a refuge with a rich marine assemblage, especially when compared to other unprotected parts of the Gulf. This image provides hints of the diverse marine environment around the island. Most of the coast is steep and rocky, but lighter blue lagoons, especially along the western coast, provide shallower, protected environments that are biologically robust. Offshore, internal waves and complex surface currents facilitate mixing of the water, important for nutrient delivery to the coastal environments. These features “observed as patterns in the water” are outlined by the sunglint (light reflecting off of the water surface back towards the camera onboard the International Space Station). The sunglint patterns are due to wind and currents, which roughen the water surface and enhance reflection, and surfactants that decrease the surface tension and roughness, resulting in regions of dark smooth water.

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