[Skip to content]
Browse image
Resolutions offered for this image:
4928 x 3280 pixels 720 x 480 pixels 4928 x 3280 pixels 640 x 426 pixels

latitude/longitude of image
Spacecraft nadir point: 18.7° S, 70.3° W

Photo center point: 16.5° S, 67.5° W

Nadir to Photo Center: Northeast

Spacecraft Altitude: 219 nautical miles (406km)
Click for Google map
features and other details
information about camera used
additional formats
Width Height Annotated Cropped Purpose Download Image 
4928 pixels 3280 pixels No No NASA's Earth Observatory web site Download
720 pixels 480 pixels Yes No NASA's Earth Observatory web site Download
4928 pixels 3280 pixels No No Download
640 pixels 426 pixels No No Download
Other options available:
Download Packaged File
Download a Google Earth KML for this Image
View photo footprint information
Image Caption: Smoky Andean Valleys

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) took this oblique photograph of smoke-filled canyons along the eastern margin of the Andes Mountains. The desert plateau of Bolivia lies in the foreground, with the southern end of Lake Titicaca at image lower left. The desert is known as the Altiplano (“high plain”) because of its great altitude—just over 4000 meters (13,000 feet). The city of La Paz, Bolivia’s capital, lies on the edge of the Altiplano.

The smoke in the valleys comes from several fires on the upper margin of the montane forest. These forests, known locally as the Yungas, appear dark green in the image. The Yungas is forested because it is a relatively wet zone and is often cloudy. In fact, astronauts see the Yungas much less often than they see the usually cloudless Altiplano.

A narrow mountain range known as the Cordillera Oriental (image center) lies between the Yungas and Altiplano regions; it is a sub-range of the Andes Mountains. Peaks are so high here—almost 6400 meters (21,000 feet)—that they are capped by small ice sheets and glaciers, which appear as bright white spots in the image. The highest peaks are Mount Ancohuma (far left) Cerro Gigante, and Nevado Illimani (image center).