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(NASA Crew Earth Observations)

Photographing the Earth from the International Space Station

Astronaut Photography of Earth - Display Record


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File NameFile Size (bytes)WidthHeightAnnotatedCroppedPurposeComments
View ISS024-E-14233.JPG 74617640439 No No
View ISS024-E-14233.JPG 21704315001029 No No
View ISS024-E-14233.JPG 287837540359 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS024-E-14233.JPG 4597111000665 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site

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Mission: ISS024 Roll: E Frame: 14233 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS024
Country or Geographic Name: RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Center Point: Latitude: 45.5 Longitude: 48.5 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

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


Camera Tilt: High Oblique
Camera Focal Length: 50mm
Camera: N4: Nikon D3X
Film: 6048E : 6048 x 4032 pixel CMOS sensor, 35.9mm x 24.0mm, total pixels: 25.72 million, Nikon FX format.


Film Exposure:
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 25 (11-25)


GMT Date: 20100911 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 112410 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 49.6, Longitude: 55.4 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction: Southwest
Sun Azimuth: 238 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 187 nautical miles (346 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 30 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 3704


This broad view of the north coast of the Caspian Sea shows a smoke plume (image left) and two river deltas (image bottom and lower right). The larger delta is that of the Volga River which appears prominently here in sunglint (light reflected off a water surface back towards the observer), and the smaller less prominent delta is that of the Ural River. Wide angle, oblique views – taken looking outward at an angle, rather than straight down towards the Earth - such as this give an excellent impression of how astronauts onboard the International Space Station view the Earth. For a sense of scale, the Caucasus Mts. (across the Caspian , image top right) are approximately 1100 km to the southwest of the International Space Station’s nadir point location - the point on the Earth directly underneath the spacecraft - at the time this image was taken.

The smoke plume appears to be sourced in the dark-toned coastal marsh vegetation along the outer fringe of the Ural River delta, rather than in a city or at some oil storage facility. Although even small fires produce plumes that are long and bright and thus easily visible from space, the density of the smoke in this plume, and its 350-km length across the entire north lobe of the Caspian Sea, suggest it was a significant fire. The smoke was thick enough nearer the source to cast shadows on the sea surface below. Lines mark three separate pulses of smoke, the most recent, nearest the source, extending directly south away from the coastline (image lower left). With time, plumes become progressively more diffuse. The oldest pulse appears to be the thinnest, casting no obvious shadows (image center left).

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