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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: ISS034 Roll: E Frame: 48455 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS034
Country or Geographic Name: USA-NEW YORK
Features: LONG ISLAND, CAPE COD, SUNGLINT, BLOCK ISLAND, BUZZARDS BAY, ATMOSPHERIC LIMB
Center Point: Latitude: 40.9 Longitude: -73.1 (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: 400mm
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.
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 25 (11-25)
GMT Date: 20130214 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 212623 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 46.4, Longitude: -55.3 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: West
Sun Azimuth: 256 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 222 nautical miles (411 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: -4 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
CaptionsNortheastern USA Coastline in Sunglint
Looking out at the Earth’s surface from the International Space Station (ISS), astronauts frequently observe sunglint highlighting both ocean and inland water surfaces. The Atlantic Ocean, including Cape Cod Bay and Buzzards Bay along the coastlines of the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island has a burnished, mirror-like appearance in this image. This is due to sunlight reflected off the water surface back towards the astronaut-photographer on the ISS. The peak reflection point is towards the right side of the image, lending the waters of Long Island Sound (at image center, to the north of Long Island) and the upper Massachusetts coastline an even brighter appearance.
Sunglint also illuminates surface waters of Chesapeake Bay (image top center) located over 400 km to the southwest of the tip of Long Island. This suggests that the Sun was low on the horizon due to the observed extent of the sunglint effect. The time of image acquisition, approximately 4:26 PM Eastern Standard Time confirms that the image was taken approximately 1 hour before local sunset. There is little in the image to indicate that the region was still recovering from a major winter storm which dropped almost one meter of snow over much of the northeastern USA less than one week earlier.
The high viewing angle from the ISS also allows the Earth’s curvature, or limb, to be seen; blue atmospheric layers gradually fade into the darkness of space across the top part of the image. Low clouds near Cape Cod, Long Island, and further down the Atlantic coastline cast shadows over the water surfaces, reducing the sunglint in some areas.
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .