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Photographing the Earth from the International Space Station

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File NameFile Size (bytes)WidthHeightAnnotatedCroppedPurposeComments
View ISS034-E-5935.JPG 120654640426 No No
View ISS034-E-5935.JPG 292700540359 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS034-E-5935.JPG 3396401440960 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS034-E-5935.JPG 6743571000665 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS034-E-5935.JPG 143365442562832 No No

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Mission: ISS034 Roll: E Frame: 5935 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS034
Country or Geographic Name: BELGIUM
Center Point: Latitude: 50.6 Longitude: 5.8 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Stereo: (Yes indicates there is an adjacent picture of the same area)


Camera Tilt: 39
Camera Focal Length: 180mm
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: 20121208 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 213911 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 51.2, Longitude: 8.6 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction: West
Sun Azimuth: 317 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 215 nautical miles (398 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: -56 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number:


Liège, Belgium at Night

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

To paraphrase the old expression, “all roads lead to Liège” – or at least one could get that impression from this night time astronaut photograph taken from the International Space Station (ISS). The brightly lit core of the Liège urban area appears to lie at the center of a network of roadways—traceable by continuous orange lighting—extending outwards into the rural, and relatively dark, Belgium countryside. For a sense of scale the distance from image left to image right is approximately 70 kilometers. The region at image lower right to the southeast of Verviers includes agricultural fields and forest; hence it appears almost uniformly dark at night.

The image was taken using the European Space Agency’s Nodding mechanism, also known as the NightPod. NightPod is an electro-mechanical mount system designed to compensate digital cameras for the motion of the ISS relative to the Earth. The primary mission goal was to take high-resolution, long exposure digital imagery of the Earth from the ISS Cupola, particularly cities at night. While the official NightPod mission has been completed, the mechanism remains on board for astronauts to use.

Liège is the third most populous metropolitan region in Belgium (after Brussels and Antwerp); it includes 52 municipalities, including the nearby city of Seraing. It is also an important economic center for the country, including a diverse array of industries including (among others) mechanical, information and biotechnology, beer and chocolate, light armaments, and steel-making. The metropolitan area also boasts a wide array of cultural, historical, and artistic attractions making it a popular destination among the neighboring countries of France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

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