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Photographing the Earth from the International Space Station

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View ISS022-E-19513.JPG 83535640437 No No
View ISS022-E-19513.JPG 282582540357 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS022-E-19513.JPG 7053661000662 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
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Mission: ISS022 Roll: E Frame: 19513 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS022
Country or Geographic Name: ARGENTINA
Center Point: Latitude: -39.8 Longitude: -65.4 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

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


Camera Tilt: 29
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: 20100104 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 175502 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: -39.9, Longitude: -63.7 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction: West
Sun Azimuth: 303 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 187 nautical miles (346 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 64 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 3771


Rio Negro Floodplain, Patagonia, Argentina

The Rio Negro is recognizable by astronaut crews from orbit as one of the most meandering rivers in South America. In this astronaut photograph, the entire floodplain (mostly ~10 kilometers wide) is covered with curved relicts of channels known as meander scars. Meander scars show the past positions of river bends. The Rio Negro is a dramatic example of how mobile a river can be; these meanders were produced as the river snaked across the plain in the very recent geological past, probably during the last few hundred years.

The main channel of the river, flowing south at this point—sixty kilometers south of the city of Choele Choel (not shown)—appears in partial sun glint at image right. Sun glint occurs when light is reflected off a water surface directly back towards the viewer, like a mirror, imparting a silvery sheen to those areas. When meander scars contain water they are known as oxbow lakes, some of which are also highlighted by sun glint in the image.

The orange tint to the water in one of the oxbow lakes (image center) could result from orange salt-loving algae. Their appearance here would be unusual since floodplain lakes are usually too fresh for algae blooms. But an explanation may lie in the location of the Rio Negro on the margin of Argentina’s arid Patagonian region, where annual rainfall is less than 300 millimeters (12 inches). Evaporation in this cloudless region could be high enough for some lakes to become salty.

The Rio Negro flows generally southeast from the Andes Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. Its floodplain supports the biggest pear- and apple-growing region of Argentina. Rectangular farm boundaries can be seen at bottom center in the image. The river also hosts the world’s longest kayak regatta, which lasts six days. During the 1800s, the river was also the demarcation line between farmlands of European settlers and territory controlled by indigenous people.

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