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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 ISS035-E-18807.JPG 64220640426 No No
View ISS035-E-18807.JPG 207205540359 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS035-E-18807.JPG 6201711000665 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS035-E-18807.JPG 7409901440960 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
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Mission: ISS035 Roll: E Frame: 18807 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS035
Country or Geographic Name: SOUTH GEORGIA IS.
Center Point: Latitude: -54.6 Longitude: -36.2 (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: 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.


Film Exposure:
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 10 (0-10)


GMT Date: 20130413 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 112927 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: -51.7, Longitude: -30.2 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction: West
Sun Azimuth: 41 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 227 nautical miles (420 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 21 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number:


South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, South Atlantic Ocean

This astronaut photograph from the International Space Station (ISS) shows the eastern half of the island of South Georgia in the southern Atlantic Ocean. At 54 degrees S latitude, snow and ice are permanent everywhere except at altitudes near sea level, where temperatures are higher. Glaciers sourced in mountain snow and ice (eleven peaks raise higher than 2000 meters above sea level) can be seen reaching the sea (such as at image lower right). Calving icebergs are visible floating away from the ice front at image lower right. Other glaciers can be seen along the coastline at image center and image left. The island’s glaciers are one of the major sources of erosion, producing fine sediment from grinding of rock and soil during ice movement over the land surface – this sediment is termed glacial flour, and it imparts a milky color to the surrounding water. The sediment is apparent as a lighter-toned zone offshore entirely surrounding the island.

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, a British overseas territory, are a remote string of islands consisting of South Georgia and smaller islands known as the South Sandwich Islands. In 1882–1883, a German scientific expedition stationed at Royal Bay (center left) observed the transit of Venus and, amazingly, recorded waves produced by the eruption of Krakatoa, fully 12,330 km (7660 miles) distant. South Georgia is 170 kilometers long and is by far the largest island in the territory. The current population of South Georgia is less than 50. The main revenue of the island comes from fishing licenses which allow access to the rich fishing grounds—South Georgia has six separate whaling factories in various bays. Other revenue comes from tourism, customs and harbor dues, and the sale of postage stamps – most of which is spent on fishery protection and research.

While the ISS only orbits above locations between approximately 52 degrees North and South latitude, astronauts using handheld cameras can take images—such as this one—of regions at higher latitudes using long focal length lenses and high viewing angles. Such images tend to highlight topographic relief due to shadowing effects (image left), looking similar to the view one gets out of a commercial airliner window.

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