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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: ISS017 Roll: E Frame: 19616 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS017
Country or Geographic Name: TURKMENISTAN
Features: AMUDARYA RIVER, HINDU KUSH MTS, DUST STORM
Center Point: Latitude: 36.0 Longitude: 63.4 (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: High Oblique
Camera Focal Length: 28mm
Camera: N2: Nikon D2Xs
Film: 4288E : 4288 x 2848 pixel CMOS sensor, RGBG imager color filter.
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 10 (0-10)
GMT Date: 20081016 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 105953 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 33.8, Longitude: 72.5 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: West
Sun Azimuth: 245 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 188 nautical miles (348 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 18 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 761
CaptionsDust storm, Turkmenistan, Central Asia
This west-looking astronaut photograph, taken with a short focal length lens from the International Space Station, spans a wide swath of central Asia—from Afghanistan, along the length of Turkmenistan, and beyond to the Caspian Sea. Winds blowing down the largest river valley in the region, the Amudarya, were strong enough to raise a large dust storm. Dust appears as a light brown mass extending into the center of the image from the lower right. Diffuse dust from prior windy weather appears over much of the area making a regional haze that hides landscape details. The haze partly obscures the irrigated agriculture in Turkmenistan and entirely obscures the Caspian Sea.
Numerous rivers rise in the Hindu Kush range (lower left). The Band-i Amir River is a major tributary of the main regional river, the Amudarya, which it reaches via a deep canyon. The Amudarya River was the major historical contributor of water to the Aral Sea, but today extensive diversion of river water for agricultural purposes has led to desiccation of the sea bed. The exposed sea bed is a major source of saline dusts contaminated with agricultural chemicals, and it poses a significant environmental and human health hazard to central Asia. To a lesser extent, dusts are also mobilized from sediments along the Amudarya River channel.
The Paropamisus Range and the Amudarya (also known as the Oxus River) are mentioned in histories of Alexander the Great’s famous military expedition from Greece to India. His horsemen are described as having made a fast side excursion from near the Caspian Sea (image top right) as far as the Amudarya (image lower right).
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .