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Photographing the Earth from the International Space Station

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File NameFile Size (bytes)WidthHeightAnnotatedCroppedPurposeComments
View ISS036-E-25802.JPG 87771640426 No No
View ISS036-E-25802.JPG 203828540350 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS036-E-25802.JPG 5100431440960 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS036-E-25802.JPG 5849531000648 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS036-E-25802.JPG 281574042562832 No No

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Mission: ISS036 Roll: E Frame: 25802 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS036
Country or Geographic Name: SAUDI ARABIA
Center Point: Latitude: 19.0 Longitude: 42.5 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

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


Camera Tilt: 42
Camera Focal Length: 50mm
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: 25 (11-25)


GMT Date: 20130726 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 194353 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 16.9, Longitude: 45.1 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction: Northwest
Sun Azimuth: 330 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 225 nautical miles (417 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: -49 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number:


Southwestern Saudi Arabia at Night

This striking image of the southwestern Saudi Arabia coastline was taken by astronauts on board the International Space Station. In addition to city lights, patchy cloud cover partially obscures and blurs city lights, especially in the vicinity of Khamis Mushait and Abha.

While much of the country is lightly populated desert and relatively dark at night due to lack of city and roadway lights the southwestern coastal region has more moderate climate and several large cities. Three brightly lit urban centers are visible at image top left; Jeddah, Mecca, and Taif. Jeddah is the gateway city for Islamic pilgrims going to nearby Mecca (a religious journey known as the hajj). Taif to the east is located on the slopes of the Sarawat Mountains, and provides a summer retreat for the Saudi government from the desert heat of the capital city of Riyadh.

Bright yellow-orange lighting marks highways that parallel the trend of the Asir Mountains at image center, connecting Mecca to the resort cities of Al Bahah and Abha (image lower right). Smaller roadways, lit with blue lights, extend to the west to small cities along the Red Sea coastline. The bright yellow-orange glow of the city of Abha is matched by that of the city of Khamis Mushait (or Khamis Mushayt) to the northeast. The brightly lit ribbon of highway continues onward towards other large cities to the south (Jazan, not shown) and southeast (Najran, not shown).

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