Return to Earth From Space Home
Earth from Space logo Image Information Earth from Space logo

Display a Screen Layout for Printing

IMAGE: gray corner       IMAGE: gray corner
  Image: Geographic Location Direction Photo #: ISS022-E-24557 Date: Jan. 2010
Geographic Region: MALDIVES

Ordering information for space photography
IMAGE: gray corner     IMAGE: gray corner

Image: gray corner     Image: gray corner
  View Low-Resolution Image  
  Male Atoll, Maldive Islands, Indian Ocean

This detailed astronaut photograph features one of the numerous atolls in the Maldive Island chain. The Maldives are an island nation, comprised of twenty-six atolls that stretch in a N-S chain for almost 900 km southwest of the Indian subcontinent. The silvery, almost pink sheen on the normally blue water of the equatorial Indian Ocean in the image is the result of sunglint. Sunglint occurs when sunlight is reflected off of a water surface directly back towards the observer - in this case an astronaut on the International Space Station. Full sunglint in images typically results in bright silver to white coloration of the water surface. Sunglint images can have different hues depending on the roughness of the water surface and atmospheric conditions.

Sunglint images can reveal numerous details of water circulation which are otherwise invisible. This image was taken during the Indian Ocean Northeast monsoon season - predominant winds in this area create sinuous surface water patterns on the leeward side, and between, the islets (image left). A south-flowing current flows in the deeper water through the Maldives most of the year (image right), with fan-shaped surface currents formed by local tides pulsing in and out of the shallow water near the islands (image top and bottom).

The largest island seen here (image center) is 6 km long, and is one of the outer ring of larger islands that make up the 70 km-long, oval-shaped Male Atoll. Shores facing deeper water have well-defined beaches. Numerous small, elliptical coral reef islets are protected within the ring of shallow water to the northeast (image left). These islets are mostly awash at high tide, with dry ground appearing in tiny patches only. A small boat was navigating between the islets at the time the image was taken as indicated by its v-shaped wake at image lower left. Images like these illustrate why the Republic of Maldives is one of the most outspoken countries in stressing the dangers of rising sea levels.
Image: gray corner     Image: gray corner

Images: All Available Images Low-Resolution 245k
Mission: ISS022  
Roll - Frame: E - 24557
Geographical Name: MALDIVES  
Center Lat x Lon: 4.4N x 73.4E
Film Exposure:   N=Normal exposure, U=Under exposed, O=Over exposed, F=out of Focus
Percentage of Cloud Cover-CLDP: 10
Camera: N4
Camera Tilt: 26   LO=Low Oblique, HO=High Oblique, NV=Near Vertical
Camera Focal Length: 800  
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: SW   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: 3892  
Date: 20100112   YYYYMMDD
Time: 083917   GMT HHMMSS
Nadir Lat: 5.7N  
Latitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Nadir Lon: 74.2E  
Longitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Sun Azimuth: 218   Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point
Space Craft Altitude: 185   nautical miles
Sun Elevation: 55   Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point
Land Views: ATOLL, ISLAND  
Atmosphere Views:  
Man Made Views:  
City Views:  
Photo is not associated with any sequences

Home Page
Home Page
JSC Digital
Image Collection
Earth Science &
Remote Sensing

NASA meatball logo
This service is provided by the International Space Station program and the JSC Earth Science & Remote Sensing Unit, ARES Division, Exploration Integration Science Directorate.
ESRS logo