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Astronaut Photography of Earth - Display Record
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IdentificationMission: ISS038 Roll: E Frame: 35416 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS038
Country or Geographic Name: USA-UTAH
Features: GREEN RIVER, BOWKNOT BEND, CONTRAIL
Center Point: Latitude: 38.6 Longitude: -110.0 (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: 14
Camera Focal Length: 1000mm
Camera: N4: Nikon D3X
Film: 6048E : 6048 x 4032 pixel CMOS sensor, 35.9mm x 24.0mm, total pixels: 25.72 million, Nikon FX format.
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 10 (0-10)
GMT Date: 20140122 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 151740 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 38.6, Longitude: -109.1 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: West
Sun Azimuth: 122 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 222 nautical miles (411 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 8 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
CaptionsThis sector of the Green River canyon in eastern Utah is known as Bowknot Bend because of the way the river doubles back on itself. The loop carries river rafters 14.5 kilometers (9 miles) before bringing them back to nearly the same point they started fromóthough on the other side of a low, narrow saddle (image center).
In this photograph taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station, the Green River appears dark because it lies in deep shadow, 300 meters (1,000 feet) below the surrounding landscape. The yellow-tinged cliffs that face the rising sun give a sense of the steep canyon walls. The straight white line across the scene is the contrail from a jet liner that passed over Bowknot Bend. Note that north is to the bottom of the image.
The reason for the tight bends in the Green River is the same as it is for the Mississippi: river courses often wind over time when they flow across a bed of relatively soft sediment in a floodplain. Geologists assume that the Green River, before its present canyon phase, once snaked across a wide valley on a bed of its own sediment and made a series of striking meander bends. Vertical uplift of the entire landscapeóby deep-seated tectonic forces related to the growth of the Rocky Mountainsócaused the Green River to erode downwards into the hard rocks under the valley. In the process, the present vertical-sided canyon was formed, preserving the tight loops reminiscent of an earlier time.
Bowknot was named by geologist John Wesley Powell in 1869 during one of his famous explorations of the rivers in the American West. The Green River flows south (toward the top of this image) and joins the Colorado River downstream. The combined flow of these rivers was responsible for cutting the Grand Canyon, some 325 kilometers (200 miles) away from Bowknot.
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .