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Photographing the Earth from the International Space Station

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File NameFile Size (bytes)WidthHeightAnnotatedCroppedPurposeComments
View ISS028-E-18675.JPG 67711640426 No No
View ISS028-E-18675.JPG 207370540359 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS028-E-18675.JPG 5493291000665 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS028-E-18675.JPG 102583142562832 No No

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Mission: ISS028 Roll: E Frame: 18675 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS028
Country or Geographic Name: MOZAMBIQUE
Center Point: Latitude: -16.0 Longitude: 33.5 (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: 28mm
Camera: N5: Nikon D3S
Film: 4256E : 4256 x 2832 pixel CMOS sensor, 36.0mm x 23.9mm, total pixels: 12.87 million, Nikon FX format.


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


GMT Date: 20110723 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 132026 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: -25.3, Longitude: 38.4 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction: Northwest
Sun Azimuth: 304 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 214 nautical miles (396 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 19 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 658


Biomass Burning, Southern Africa

A smoke pall of subcontinental proportions dominates this view of tropical southern Africa. In what has been described as the most fire-prone part of the world, numerous fires give rise to regional smoke palls every dry season. Fires are both natural and set by local people to clear woodland for agricultural fields. This recent, oblique, northwest-looking view taken in July 2011 at the end of the dry season shows the extent of the smoke on the African plateau—from central Zimbabwe (image lower left) to northern Malawi more than 1000 km away (image top right)—and in the wide coastal plains of the lower Zambezi River valley of Mozambique (image lower right). Here smoke can be seen blowing inland (left to right), channeled up the Zambezi River valley and contributing to the pall on the plateau. The light gray smoke plumes contrast with higher altitude, brighter patchy cloud cover at image lower right.

The smoke palls obscure much surface detail, so that Lake Malawi, one of Africa’s Great Lakes, is barely visible, as is Lake Cahora Bassa, Africa’s fourth largest reservoir, in the Zambezi valley. The sun’s reflection off its surface (sunglint) makes Lake Kariba most prominent in the view at image left. Kariba is the world’s largest artificial reservoir by volume, and is 220 km long, giving a sense of the scale of the view. The steep, shadowed, mid-afternoon faces of the Inyanga Mountains on the Mozambique-Zimbabwe border protrude above the smoke layer at image lower left. Solar panels extending from Russian spacecraft docked at the International Space Station are visible in the foreground at image left.

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