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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: ISS021 Roll: E Frame: 5555 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS021
Country or Geographic Name: LESSER ANTILLES
Features: MONTSERRAT I., SOUFRIERE HILLS VOLCANO, PLUME, SUNGLINT
Center Point: Latitude: 16.7 Longitude: -62.2 (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: 32
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: 20091011 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 181609 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 17.3, Longitude: -60.4 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: West
Sun Azimuth: 239 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 183 nautical miles (339 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 46 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 2431
CaptionsAsh and Steam Plume, Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat
The Soufrière Hills, a volcano on the island of Montserrat, in the Lesser Antilles island chain in the Caribbean Sea, has been active since 1995. The most recent eruptive phase of the volcano began with a short swarm of volcano-tectonic earthquakes—earthquakes thought to be caused by movement of magma beneath a volcano—on October 4, 2009, followed by a series of ash-venting events that have continued through October 13, 2009. These venting events create plumes that can deposit ash at significant distances from the volcano. In addition to ash plumes, pyroclastic flows and lava dome growth have been reported as part of the current eruptive activity.
This oblique astronaut photograph from the International Space Station (ISS) captures a white-to-gray ash and steam plume extending westwards from the volcano on October 11, 2009. Oblique images are taken by astronauts looking out from the ISS at an angle, rather than looking straight downward toward the Earth (a perspective called a nadir view), as is common with most remotely sensed data from satellites. An oblique view gives the scene a more three-dimension quality, and provides a look at the vertical structure of the volcanic plume.
While much of the island is covered in green vegetation, gray deposits that include pyroclastic flows and volcanic mudflows (lahars) are visible extending from the volcano toward the coastline. When compared to its extent in earlier views, the volcanic debris has filled in more of the eastern coastline. Urban areas are visible in the northern and western portions of the island; they are recognizable by linear street patterns and the presence of bright building rooftops. The silver-gray appearance of the Caribbean Sea surface is due to sunglint, which is the mirror-like reflection of sunlight off the water surface back towards the handheld camera onboard the ISS. The sunglint highlights surface wave patterns around the island.
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .