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The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth
(NASA Crew Earth Observations)
Astronaut Photography of Earth - Display Record
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IdentificationMission: ISS038 Roll: E Frame: 26862 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS038
Country or Geographic Name: MAURITANIA
Features: PLATEAU EDGE, MESAS, DUNES
Center Point: Latitude: 17.2 Longitude: -11.6 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Stereo: (Yes indicates there is an adjacent picture of the same area)
ONC Map ID: JNC Map ID:
CameraCamera Tilt: 52
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.
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 25 (11-25)
GMT Date: 20140108 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 154116 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 16.9, Longitude: -6.9 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: West
Sun Azimuth: 231 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 225 nautical miles (417 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 30 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
CaptionsWestern Sahara Desert, Mauritania
This astronaut photograph of infrequent cloud bands over southern Mauritania was taken from the International Space Station with an oblique look angle so that the dark cloud shadows are also a prominent part of the view. Beneath the cloud the Aouker plateau of dark sedimentary rocks appears as a ragged, near-vertical escarpment at image top right. Isolated remnants of the plateau appear as dark mesas (flat-topped hills) across the top and near the center of the image. The escarpment is about 250 m high, with a field of orange-colored dunes at the base (image upper right).
Prevailing winds in this part of the Sahara Desert blow from the northeast. The wavy dunes are aligned transverse to these winds. The sand that makes the dunes is blown in from a zone immediately upwind (just out of the bottom of the image) where dry river beds and dry lakes provide large quantities of mobile sand for the wind to transport. This pattern is typical in the western Sahara Desert, where plateau surfaces are mostly dune free and dunefields are located in the surrounding lowlands where the larger rivers deposit quantities of sandy sediment on the few occasions when they flow—sometimes only once in decades.
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .