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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 ISS036-E-9405.JPG 96810640426 No No
View ISS036-E-9405.JPG 216629540323 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS036-E-9405.JPG 5737671440960 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS036-E-9405.JPG 6627041000598 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS036-E-9405.JPG 381274142562832 No No

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Mission: ISS036 Roll: E Frame: 9405 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS036
Country or Geographic Name: USA-TEXAS
Center Point: Latitude: 30.5 Longitude: -96.5 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

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


Camera Tilt: High Oblique
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: 10 (0-10)


GMT Date: 20130617 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 062043 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 24.7, Longitude: -94.1 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction: North
Sun Azimuth: 1 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 221 nautical miles (409 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: -42 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number:


Texas Metropolitan Areas at Night

This striking astronaut photograph taken from the International Space Station (ISS) illustrates the four largest metropolitan areas of Texas (by population, using 2010 US Census estimates). The extent of the metropolitan areas is readily visible at night due to city and roadway lighting networks. The largest metro area, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington(population over 6.5 million) is visible at image top center; the lighting pattern appears less distinct due to local cloud cover. Four brightly illuminated cloud tops to the northwest (image top center) indicate thunderstorm activity over neighboring Oklahoma.

Coming in a close second with a population of approximately 6.1 million, the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metro area is located along the Gulf of Mexico coastline at image lower right. To the east near the border with Louisiana, the metropolitan area of Beaumont-Port Arthur ranks tenth (pop. near 400,000) within Texas.

Moving inland to south-central Texas, the San Antonio-New Braunfels metro area (image left) has the third largest population of over 2 million. A band of lighting visible to the southeast of San Antonio marks well pads associated with the Eagle Ford Formation (also known as the Eagle Ford Shale); this geologic formation is an important producer of both oil and natural gas.

The capital city of Texas (Austin) is included within the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos metro area to the northeast of San Antonio; it ranks fourth in terms of population with over 1.7 million. The greater Austin metro area is located in central Texas between the Hill Country to the west and the coastal plain to the east-southeast.

This image was taken with a relatively high viewing angle from the ISS, as opposed to looking “straight down” towards the Earth’s surface as is typical for most orbital remote sensing instruments. Oblique viewing angles tend to change the apparent distance between objects – for a sense of scale, the actual distance between the central Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth metro areas is approximately 367 kilometers (228 miles).

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