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Photographing the Earth from the International Space Station

Astronaut Photography of Earth - Display Record

ISS024-E-11914

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File NameFile Size (bytes)WidthHeightAnnotatedCroppedPurposeComments
View ISS024-E-11914.JPG 43211640437 No No
View ISS024-E-11914.JPG 185438540349 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS024-E-11914.JPG 5405471000646 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS024-E-11914.JPG 76171142882929 No No

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Electronic Image Data

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Identification

Mission: ISS024 Roll: E Frame: 11914 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS024
Country or Geographic Name: TUAMOTU ARCHIPELAGO
Features: MATAIVA ISLAND, CORAL REEF, PACIFIC OCEAN, PAHUA
Center Point: Latitude: -14.9 Longitude: -148.7 (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:

Camera

Camera Tilt: 46
Camera Focal Length: 400mm
Camera: N2: Nikon D2Xs
Film: 4288E : 4288 x 2848 pixel CMOS sensor, RGBG imager color filter.

Quality

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

Nadir

GMT Date: 20100813 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 210718 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: -14.5, Longitude: -151.9 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction: East
Sun Azimuth: 30 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 190 nautical miles (352 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 57 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 3254

Captions

Mataiva Atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago, South Pacific Ocean

The Tuamotu Archipelago is part of French Polynesia, and forms the largest chain of atolls in the world. This astronaut photograph features Mataiva Atoll, the westernmost atoll of the Tuamotu chain. An atoll is a ring-shaped island that encloses a central lagoon. This distinctive morphology is usually associated with oceanic islands formed by volcanoes; coral reefs become established around the partially submerged volcanic cone. Over geologic time the central volcano becomes extinct, followed by erosion and subsidence beneath the sea surface, leaving the coral reefs as a ring around (or cap on) the submerged island remnant. Coral reefs exposed above the sea surface in turn experience erosion, sedimentation, and soil formation, leading to the establishment of vegetation and complex ecosystems—including in many cases human habitation.

Mataiva Atoll is notable in that its central lagoon includes a network of ridges (white, image center) and small basins formed from eroded coral reefs. Mataiva means “nine eyes” in Tuamotuan, an allusion to nine narrow channels on the south-central portion of the island. The atoll is sparsely populated, with only a single village—Pahua—located on either side of the only pass providing constant connection between the shallow (light blue) water of the lagoon and the deeper (dark blue) adjacent Pacific Ocean. Much of the 10-kilometer- (6-mile-) long atoll is covered with forest (greenish brown). Vanilla and copra (dried coconut) are major exports from the atoll, but tourism is becoming a larger part of the economy.

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