ISS040-E-80921

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Spacecraft nadir point: 19.8° N, 79.6° W

Photo center point: 19.5° N, 71.0° W

Nadir to Photo Center: East

Spacecraft Altitude: 225 nautical miles (417km)
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Image Caption: Panorama of Hispaniola and the Caribbean

Looking east into a rising sun, the crew onboard the International Space Station (ISS) took this panoramic photo of the island of Hispaniola, with sunglint illuminating the long western peninsula of Haiti. Several thunderheads throw shadows towards the camera at image left. The photo looks a little hazy, likely because of dust in the atmosphere. Dust blows across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa, reaching the western hemisphere every month of the year.

The plume from a very large wildfire stretches westward across the image. The Constanza Fire started in a national forest on the Dominican Republic and grew to an extent that it threatened surrounding towns and prompted an International Disaster Charter (IDC) activation. Through the charter, a request for imagery was sent to the ISS crew in the hopes that photos might be able to assist firefighters on the ground. Hurricane Bertha tracked over the island a week later and helped douse the flames.

Despite the austere tone of the image, there are touches of color in the blue waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands--which extending from under a large thundercloud (image left)--and in the edge of an ISS solar panel (top right). The solar panels also make a faint reflection on the ISS window (lower right).