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  Image: Geographic Location Direction Photo #: ISS018-E-18129 Date: Jan. 2009
Geographic Region: TOKELAU
Feature: ATAFU ATOLL

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  Atafu Atoll, Tokelau, Southern Pacific Ocean

At roughly eight kilometers wide, Atafu Atoll is the smallest of three atolls and one island (Nukunonu and Fakaofo Atolls to the southeast and Swains Island to the south are not shown) comprising the Tokelau Islands group located in the southern Pacific Ocean. The political entity of Tokelau is currently a territory of New Zealand. In recent years, public referendums on independence within the islands have been held, but have not received sufficient support to move forward.

The primary settlement on Atafu is a village located at the northwestern corner of the atoll—indicated by an area of light gray dots in this astronaut photograph. The typical ring shape of the atoll is the result of coral reefs building up around a former volcanic island. Over geologic time, the central volcano has subsided beneath the water surface, leaving the fringing reefs and a central lagoon that contains submerged coral reefs. Erosion and soil development on the surfaces of the exposed fringing reefs have formed tan to light-brown beach deposits (southern and western sides of the atoll) and allowed vegetation to take root (northern and eastern sides of the atoll).

The Tokelau Islands, including Atafu Atoll, suffered significant inundation and erosion during Tropical Cyclone Percy in 2005. The approximate elevation of Atafu Atoll is only two meters above the tidal high-water level. Vulnerability to tropical cyclones and potential sea level rise make the long-term habitability of the atoll uncertain.
 
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Images: All Available Images Low-Resolution 212k
Mission: ISS018  
Roll - Frame: E - 18129
Geographical Name: TOKELAU  
Features: ATAFU ATOLL  
Center Lat x Lon: 8.6S x 172.5W
Film Exposure:   N=Normal exposure, U=Under exposed, O=Over exposed, F=out of Focus
Percentage of Cloud Cover-CLDP: 10
 
Camera: N2
 
Camera Tilt: 18   LO=Low Oblique, HO=High Oblique, NV=Near Vertical
Camera Focal Length: 800  
 
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: NE   The direction from the nadir to the center point, N=North, S=South, E=East, W=West
Stereo?:   Y=Yes there is an adjacent picture of the same area, N=No there isn't
Orbit Number: 2057  
 
Date: 20090106   YYYYMMDD
Time: 202711   GMT HHMMSS
Nadir Lat: 9.4S  
Latitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Nadir Lon: 173.1W  
Longitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Sun Azimuth: 112   Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point
Space Craft Altitude: 189   nautical miles
Sun Elevation: 42   Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point
Land Views: ATOLL, EROSION  
Water Views: LAGOON, OCEAN  
Atmosphere Views:  
Man Made Views:  
City Views:  
Photo is not associated with any sequences


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