ISS040-E-106243

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Spacecraft nadir point: 24.3° N, 48.5° E

Photo center point: 29.5° N, 49.5° E

Nadir to Photo Center: North

Spacecraft Altitude: 221 nautical miles (409km)
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Image Caption: Persian Gulf, under clear and dust-storm conditions

These panoramas taken by astronauts from the International Space Station show the tropical blue waters of the Persian Gulf and tan-colored dust of a major dust storm obscuring the gulf and its northern shoreline (ISS040E113700). Strong north winds often blow in summer, churning up dust from the entire length of the desert surfaces of the Tigris and Euphrates valleys (top left in this image and image ISS040E113700). Dust partly obscures the hundreds of kilometers of Iraq's light-green agricultural lands along these rivers (left in both images).

The Caspian Sea cuts the horizon, and a line of thunderstorms is being set off by the Zagros Mountains of Iran (image right, ISS040E113700), with the setting sun casting long shadows from the thunderheads. Astronauts see sixteen sunrises and sunsets every day from low earth orbit. Here the crew captured dusk in a darkening Iranian landscape (image right, ISS040E113700).