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Photographing the Earth from the International Space Station

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File NameFile Size (bytes)WidthHeightAnnotatedCroppedPurposeComments
View ISS036-E-10628.JPG 69511640426 No No
View ISS036-E-10628.JPG 172695540359 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS036-E-10628.JPG 2540791440960 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS036-E-10628.JPG 4308431000665 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS036-E-10628.JPG 82619742562832 No No

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Mission: ISS036 Roll: E Frame: 10628 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS036
Country or Geographic Name: SAUDI ARABIA
Center Point: Latitude: 28.0 Longitude: 34.5 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

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


Camera Tilt: 14
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: 20130623 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 102213 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 28.5, Longitude: 35.3 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction: Southwest
Sun Azimuth: 245 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 220 nautical miles (407 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 80 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number:


Strait of Tiran, Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba

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

The approximately 6 kilometer wide Strait of Tiran (also known as the Straits of Tiran) between the Egyptian mainland and Tiran Island separates the Gulf of Aqaba from the Red Sea, and provides two channels (290 m and 73 m deep, respectively) navigable by large ships bound for ports in Jordan and Israel. A smaller passage also exists between the east side of Tiran Island and Saudi Arabia, but this a single channel that is 16 meters deep. Due to its strategic position, control of the Strait has been an important factor in historical conflicts of the region, such as the Suez Crisis in 1956 and the Six-Day War in 1967.

This astronaut photograph from the International Space Station (ISS) illustrates the morphology of the Strait. The relatively clear, deep water passages of the western Strait of Tiran are visible at image left, while the more sinuous shallow-water passage on the Saudi Arabia side can be seen at image top center. Light blue to turquoise areas around Tiran Island indicate shallow water, while the island itself is arid and largely free of vegetation. Coral reefs are also found in the Straits of Tiran and are a popular diving destination.

The silvery sheen on the water surface within the Strait and the south of Tiran Island is sunglint light reflecting off the water surface back towards the astronaut observer on the ISS . Disturbance to the water surface, as well as presence of substances such as oils and surfactants, can change the reflective properties of the water surface and highlight both surface waves and subsurface currents. For example, a large wave set is highlighted by sunglint at image lower right.

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