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Photographing the Earth from the International Space Station

Astronaut Photography of Earth - Display Record


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File NameFile Size (bytes)WidthHeightAnnotatedCroppedPurposeComments
View ISS028-E-9979.JPG 93743425640 No No
View ISS028-E-9979.JPG 209282540359 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS028-E-9979.JPG 5900111000664 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS028-E-9979.JPG 158785328484288 No No

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Mission: ISS028 Roll: E Frame: 9979 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS028
Country or Geographic Name: USA-CONNECTICUT
Center Point: Latitude: 41.5 Longitude: -72.5 (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: N2: Nikon D2Xs
Film: 4288E : 4288 x 2848 pixel CMOS sensor, RGBG imager color filter.


Film Exposure:
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 75 (51-75)


GMT Date: 20110627 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 201238 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 42.0, Longitude: -66.7 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction: West
Sun Azimuth: 266 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 205 nautical miles (380 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 40 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 257


Massachusetts Coastline in Sunglint

Note: This caption refers to the image versions labeled "NASA's Earth Observatory web site".

The Crew Earth Observations team at NASA Johnson Space Center sends specific ground targets for photography up to the International Space Station (ISS) crew on a daily basis, but sometimes the crew takes imagery on their own of striking displays visible from orbit. One such display, often visible to the ISS crew due to their ability to look outwards at angles between 0 and 90 degrees, is sunglint on the waters of Earth. Sunglint is caused by sunlight reflecting off of a water surface—much as light reflects from a mirror—directly towards the observer. Roughness variations of the water surface scatter the light, blurring the reflection and producing the typical silvery sheen of the sunglint area.

The point of maximum sunglint is centered within Cape Cod Bay, the body of water partially enclosed by the “hook” of Cape Cod (image right). Cape Cod was formally designated a National Seashore in 1966. Sunglint off the water provides sharp contrast with the coastline and the nearby islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket (image lower right), both popular destinations for tourists and summer residents. To the north, rocky Cape Ann extends out into the Atlantic Ocean; the border with New Hampshire is located approximately 30 kilometers up the coast.

Further to the west, the eastern half of Long Island, New York is visible emerging from extensive cloud cover over the mid-Atlantic and Midwestern States. Persistent storm tracks had been contributing to record flooding along rivers in the Midwest at the time this image was taken in late June 2011. Thin blue layers of the atmosphere, contrasted against the darkness of space, are visible extending along the Earth’s curvature at image left.

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