ISS060-E-44562
Browse image
Resolutions offered for this image:
720 x 999 pixels 3712 x 5568 pixels 427 x 640 pixels
Cloud masks available for this image:

Spacecraft nadir point: 24.1° S, 43.4° W

Photo center point: 22.5° S, 49.5° W

Nadir to Photo Center: West

Spacecraft Altitude: 227 nautical miles (420km)
Click for Google map
Width Height Annotated Cropped Purpose Links
720 pixels 999 pixels Yes No NASA's Earth Observatory web site Download Image
3712 pixels 5568 pixels No No Download Image
427 pixels 640 pixels No No Download Image
Other options available:
Download Packaged File
Download a Google Earth KML for this Image
View photo footprint information
Image Caption: Rivers in Glint, Southern Brazil

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) focused a long camera lens on the Sun's reflection point while orbiting over southern coastal Brazil. That reflection (known as sunglint) highlights three major rivers: Rio Parana, Rio Tiete and Rio Paranapanema.

For scale, the Atlantic Ocean near the port city of Santos is about 600 kilometers (400 miles) from the Parana River. The sea surface also reflects sunlight, as does the smoke pall across the top of the image. The smoke came from fires that were burning further north in Brazil and Paraguay.

Such views looking toward the sunglint point show the water bodies in stark detail. But the contrast with dark land surfaces causes such a loss of detail that the entire metropolitan area of Sao Paulo, with its 30 million inhabitants, is mostly obscured.

The Rio Tiete flows right through the metro region from headwaters north of Sao Paulo. This river provides half of the region's urban water supply. All of these rivers are heavily controlled by strings of reservoirs that retain water flow for use by the major cities and to generate hydroelectric power. The reservoirs all appear as the brightest, widest points along the river courses.