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  Image: Geographic Location Direction Photo #: ISS037-E-15305 Date: Oct. 2013
Geographic Region: ITALY

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  Elba and the Mediterranean Sea at night

Part of the astronaut experience is seeing the planet transform from day to night, in ways that earth-bound people usually never see. A crew member aboard the International Space Station took this image of the northern Mediterranean Sea, centered on the island of Elba, with city lights of the Italian towns of Piombino and Punta Ala image right. Shooting towards the reflection of the moon on the sea surface, moonglint reveals the highly complex patterns on the sea surface--in the night equivalent of sunglint. The strongest reflection is near the center of the moon's disc, which brightens the sea surface around the island of Elba. But in the complex patterns seen from space, the dark areas of the sea surface even make the islands like Elba, Montecristo (lower left) and Pianosa (left) more difficult to see.

The reflection off sea surfaces captures many different processes, mostly natural processes, but some made by humans. Waves trailing behind ships passing north of Elba make the classic V-shaped pattern (image top). The meandering line coming off Montecristo Island is an "island wake," made up of alternating vortices of wind that develop on the downwind side of the island. This wake is the strongest evidence that a northeast wind was blowing (that is, right to left) on this October midnight. A shorter meandering wind pattern is being shed off Punta Ala on the mainland (image lower right). Smoother surfaces, protected from wind, are usually brighter, being a better mirror for moonlight.

The sea surface also displays numerous tight swirls known as gyres (three examples are indicated by arrows; there are several in the field of view). The broad swath of parallel lines image at image top left are probably part of the larger circulation of the sea, which usually experiences north-flowing currents around Elba..

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Images: All Available Images Low-Resolution 78k
Mission: ISS037  
Roll - Frame: E - 15305
Geographical Name: ITALY  
Center Lat x Lon: 42.8N x 10.3E
Film Exposure:   N=Normal exposure, U=Under exposed, O=Over exposed, F=out of Focus
Percentage of Cloud Cover-CLDP: 10
Camera: N5
Camera Tilt: 39   LO=Low Oblique, HO=High Oblique, NV=Near Vertical
Camera Focal Length: 180  
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: SE   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:  
Date: 20131017   YYYYMMDD
Time: 205132   GMT HHMMSS
Nadir Lat: 45.2N  
Latitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Nadir Lon: 8.5E  
Longitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Sun Azimuth: 309   Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point
Space Craft Altitude: 222   nautical miles
Sun Elevation: -44   Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point
Land Views: ISLAND, MOON  
Atmosphere Views:  
Man Made Views:  
City Views:  
Photo is not associated with any sequences

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