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Photographing the Earth from the International Space Station

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File NameFile Size (bytes)WidthHeightAnnotatedCroppedPurposeComments
View ISS026-E-26761.JPG 74796640437 No No
View ISS026-E-26761.JPG 253162540357 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS026-E-26761.JPG 6635491000661 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS026-E-26761.JPG 113659242882929 No No

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Mission: ISS026 Roll: E Frame: 26761 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS026
Country or Geographic Name: ARGENTINA
Center Point: Latitude: -38.7 Longitude: -59.1 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

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


Camera Tilt: 26
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: 20110213 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 202933 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: -39.4, Longitude: -57.7 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction: West
Sun Azimuth: 275 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 190 nautical miles (352 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 27 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 2148


Médano Blanco coastal dunes, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina

The Médano Blanco (White Dunes) are a well known recreational area 35 km west of the twin cities of Nicochea-Quequén, one of the biggest ports in the province of Buenos Aires, central Argentina. The Médano Blanco dunes separate the Atlantic Ocean from intensive sunflower agricultural cropland, visible as the angular pattern of green and brown fields at image left. The dune field extends 3.5 km at its widest part. Narrow cordons of coastal dunes stretch along this part of Argentina’s coastline for hundreds of km. Small streams, oriented towards the coast, cross the farmland at image upper left. Water from these is dammed behind the dunes, and even within the dunes, where wetlands flourish.

This is the drier southern part of Buenos Aires province near the more arid and windier border with Patagonia—one of the windiest places on Earth. The effect of strong westerly winds (blowing bottom to top in this slightly oblique image) can be seen everywhere in this detailed astronaut photograph. The dune sand is blown from local beaches onshore where it forms the dunes. The prominent dune ridge crests are oriented at right angles to the prevailing wind. Geologists suspect that erosion by wind has excavated numerous hollows which now dot the farmland as small shallow lakes, seen here with more and less water. A stand of dark green trees has been planted on the upwind side of a health spa—located at the white dot (image center left) which is the roof of a stately building—as a protective barrier against the wind.

The white fringe along the seashore is formed from lines of breaking waves. Crossing swell trains can be seen offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. The curvature of the swell pattern offshore also shows the effect of the westerly wind, and indeed drives the local sea current in this area—slightly more prominent onshore swells approach the coast from the southeast. The light brown tint of seawater nearer the shore is the fine muddy fraction of the coastal sediment being washed seaward (after being stirred up by wave action) and then east by the current.

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