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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 ISS029-E-34092.JPG 51263640426 No No
View ISS029-E-34092.JPG 155853540382 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS029-E-34092.JPG 5236601000708 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS029-E-34092.JPG 143931842562832 No No

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Mission: ISS029 Roll: E Frame: 34092 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS029
Country or Geographic Name: PACIFIC OCEAN
Center Point: Latitude: Longitude: (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Stereo: (Yes indicates there is an adjacent picture of the same area)


Camera Tilt: Low Oblique
Camera Focal Length: 38mm
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: 20111029 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 125240 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: -40.5, Longitude: -164.0 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction:
Sun Azimuth: 143 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 217 nautical miles (402 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: -28 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number:


Re-entry of Progress Spacecraft 42P

Have you ever wondered how the astronauts and cosmonauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) take out their trash? Several times a year, robotic spacecraft carrying a variety of items including food, water, fuel, oxygen, medical supplies, replacement parts, and research materials are launched from Earth to dock with the ISS. These spacecraft are built and launched by the ISS international partners Russia, Japan, and the European Space Agency. After its cargo has been transferred to the ISS, the spacecraft is refilled with refuse, and then undocked and de-orbited—essentially using the Earth’s atmosphere as an incinerator for both the spent spacecraft and the refuse.

This unusual astronaut photograph highlights the reentry plasma trail (image center) of one such spacecraft, the ISS Progress 42P (Russian designation M-10M) supply vehicle. The Progress spacecraft is based on the Soyuz design, and can fly autonomously or under remote control from the ISS. Progress 42P docked at the ISS on April 29 2011, and was undocked and de-orbited approximately 183 days later on October 29 2011.

The ISS was located over the southern Pacific Ocean when this image was taken. Light from the rising sun illuminates the curvature of the Earth limb (horizon line) at image top, but does not completely overwhelm the airglow visible at image top left. Airglow is caused by light emitted at specific wavelengths by atoms and molecules excited by ultraviolet radiation in the upper atmosphere.

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