Earth from Space - Image Information

LOCATION Direction Photo #: ISS063-E-32223 Date: Jun. 2020
Geographic Region: BAHAMAS
Feature: ANDROS


An astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) took this photograph of storm clouds rising over Andros Island, one of the Bahama Islands. Even though the spacecraft was passing over southern Indiana (nearly 1800 kilometers/1100 miles north of Andros Island) at the time of the photo, the crew managed to shoot what seems like a close-up view by using a long lens (400 mm). They caught thunderstorms developing over the island, as well as features of the shallow sea floor known as the Great Bahama Bank.

Beyond the towering storms, the dull gray-brown pall of a dust plume is draped across the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. The haze is so dense that it completely obscures the island of Cuba from the astronaut's view. Two days after this photo was taken, people on the ground in Cuba saw the Sun significantly dimmed by the dusty haze.

This huge dust mass had been lofted ten days earlier from the vast sandy surfaces of the western Sahara Desert. The dust plume stretched across the Atlantic Ocean from northwestern Africa, a distance of more than 7000 kilometers (4,200 miles). Two days before this shot, an astronaut took an image of the same dust mass over the open ocean; the sea surface was completely obscured from view for hundreds of miles.

Scientists are keenly interested in Saharan dust plumes because they are known to depress hurricane development. The strong upper-level winds that can carry dust across great distances can also effectively shear off the tops of budding storms before they develop into hurricanes. The dry desert air also reduces the moisture content of the air it encounters over the open ocean. This reduces the airborne moisture that forms clouds and energizes hurricanes. This photo hints at this difference between these air masses: In contrast to the thunderstorms over tropical Andros Island, there is only a small cumulus cloud within the dust mass.

The dust event in June 2020 was among the thickest over the Atlantic Ocean since the year 2000, as revealed by this compilation of monthly dust and smoke loadings. In 1994 and 2001 astronauts took photographs of less dense Saharan dust plumes over the same region.

Images: All Available Images Low-Resolution 353k
Mission: ISS063  
Roll - Frame: E - 32223
Geographical Name: BAHAMAS  
Features: ANDROS  
Center Lat x Lon: 25.9N x 79.4W
Film Exposure:   N=Normal exposure, U=Under exposed, O=Over exposed, F=out of Focus
Percentage of Cloud Cover-CLDP: 50
Camera:: N8
Camera Tilt: HO   LO=Low Oblique, HO=High Oblique, NV=Near Vertical
Camera Focal Length: 400  
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: 20200623   YYYYMMDD
Time: 180036   GMT HHMMSS
Nadir Lat: 39.1N  
Latitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Nadir Lon: 86.3W  
Longitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Sun Azimuth: 191   Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point
Space Craft Altitude: 222   nautical miles
Sun Elevation: 74   Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point
Water Views: OCEAN, SEA  
Man Made Views:  
City Views:  

Photo is not associated with any sequences

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