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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: ISS027 Roll: E Frame: 12224 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS027
Country or Geographic Name: BOLIVIA
Features: PAN, TERMINATOR, LIMB, SALAR DE UYUNI, SALAR DE COIPASA
Center Point: Latitude: -14.5 Longitude: -61.0 (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: High Oblique
Camera Focal Length: 800mm
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: 20110409 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 131941 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: -24.7, Longitude: -43.0 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: Northwest
Sun Azimuth: 38 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 191 nautical miles (354 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 51 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 3009
CaptionsSunset over Western South America
Astronauts on board the International Space Station see, on average, sixteen sunrises and sunsets during a 24-hour orbital period. Each changeover between day and night on the ground is marked by the terminator, or line separating the sunlit side of the Earth from the side in darkness. While the terminator is conceptualized as a hard boundary—and is frequently presented as such in graphics and visualizations—in reality the boundary between light and dark is diffuse due to scattering of light by the Earth’s atmosphere. This zone of diffuse lighting is experienced as dusk or twilight on the ground – while the Sun is no longer visible, some illumination is still present due to light scattering over the local horizon.
The terminator is visible in this astronaut photograph trending across the image from lower left to upper right. This panoramic view across central South America, looking towards the northeast, was acquired at approximately 7:37 PM local time. Layers of the Earth’s atmosphere, colored bright white to deep blue, are visible extending across the horizon (or limb). The highest cloud tops have a reddish glow from the direct light of the setting Sun while lower clouds are in twilight. The Salar de Coipasa, a large salt lake in Bolivia, is dimly visible on the night side of the terminator. The salar provides a geographic reference point that allows the location and viewing orientation of the image to be determined.
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .