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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 ISS031-E-35310.JPG 108610640425 No No
View ISS031-E-35310.JPG 289047540380 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS031-E-35310.JPG 7601171000704 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS031-E-35310.JPG 157104642882848 No No

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Mission: ISS031 Roll: E Frame: 35310 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS031
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: High Oblique
Camera Focal Length: 180mm
Camera: N2: Nikon D2Xs
Film: 4288E : 4288 x 2848 pixel CMOS sensor, RGBG imager color filter.


Film Exposure:
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 100 (76-100)


GMT Date: 20120515 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 221858 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: -35.6, Longitude: -70.7 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction:
Sun Azimuth: 289 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 218 nautical miles (404 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: -7 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number:


Sunglint and Clouds off Western South America

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

The setting sun highlights cloud patterns above the Pacific Ocean, as well as the ocean surface itself in this impressive image taken by an astronaut on board the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS was located over the Andes Mountains of central Chile at the time. The view is looking towards the Pacific Ocean and the Sun setting in the west (towards image upper right). Light from the setting Sun reflects off the water surface towards the observer on the ISS and creates a mirror-like appearance—a phenomenon known as sunglint.

Bands of relatively low altitude cumulus clouds appear much like a flotilla of ships with their west-facing sides illuminated by the waning sunlight and the rest in shadow (image center). Due to the low Sun angle, they cast long and deep shadows over large swaths of the ocean surface. Given the short camera lens used, an individual cloud shadow may extend for miles. Light gray clouds at image lower left appear to be at a higher altitude. The cloud cover is likely a remnant of a frontal system that moved inland over South America from the Pacific a day or two prior to the time the image was taken.

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