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The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth
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Astronaut Photography of Earth - Display Record
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IdentificationMission: ISS018 Roll: E Frame: 25705 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS018
Country or Geographic Name: MADAGASCAR
Features: BETSIBOKA R.
Center Point: Latitude: -16.4 Longitude: 46.6 (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: 5
Camera Focal Length: 400mm
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: 20090130 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 065203 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: -16.4, Longitude: 46.9 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: West
Sun Azimuth: 97 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 191 nautical miles (354 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 58 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 2425
CaptionsBetsiboka River floods, Madagascar–January 2009
Between January 18 and 20, 2009, Tropical Storm Eric swept along the east coast of the island nation of Madagascar. Rain from this storm fell in the catchment of the Betsiboka River, one of the main rivers in northern Madagascar. In an unlikely coincidence, a larger storm, Cyclone Fanele crossed central Madagascar the next day, on January 21, with its outer bands dropping more rain in the Betsiboka basin. By the time this astronaut image was taken on January 30, the river was flooding all along its length.
The impact of the flood can be seen by comparing flood conditions (top) with normal flow conditions (bottom) along a reach of the river. The lower image is a mosaic of two astronaut images taken in late 2003. The main visual differences are the redder color of the river water produced by mud from the eroded red soils of the basin and the greener color of the countryside in the 2009 image, which is related to summer greening of the natural forest vegetation.
The most dramatic changes are the greatly increased width of the river, flooded sand bars within the river, islands shrunken by flooding, and enlarged lakes heavily charged with red mud (indicated as a “muddy lake” on the top image). With time, flood-borne mud sinks out of lake water, and lakes become a characteristically grayer hue. Over time the precise location of the river banks has changed, but such changes probably relate to slower, multi-year changes in the river course.
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .