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ISS004-E-6249
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Spacecraft nadir point: 1.4° N, 158.0° W

Photo center point: 2.0° N, 157.5° W

Nadir to Photo Center: Northeast

Spacecraft Altitude: 216 nautical miles (400km)
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Image Caption: Pronounced "Ki-ris-mas," Kiritimati Island has a large infilled lagoon that
gives it the largest land area (125 square miles, 321 square km) of any atoll
in the world. Captain Cook named the atoll Christmas Island when he arrived on
Christmas Eve in 1777. Used for nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960s, the
island is now valued for its marine and wildlife resources. It is particularly
important as a seabird nesting site--with an estimated 6 million birds using or
breeding on the island, including several million Sooty Terns. Rainfall on
Kiritimati is linked to El Nino patterns, with long droughts experienced
between the wetter El Nino years.