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Spacecraft nadir point: 12.8° N, 52.8° E

Photo center point: 12.0° N, 51.0° E

Nadir to Photo Center: West

Spacecraft Altitude: 165 nautical miles (306km)
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Image Caption: STS026-42-15 Gulf of Aden, Somalia October 1988
This color visible photograph of the sunglint pattern in the Gulf of Aden, is along the coast of Somalia (12.0 deg. N, 51.0 deg. E). Internal waves have been seen around the world in the Shuttle photography. Internal waves off the horn of Africa, Somalia, are believed to be the result of tidal surges that moved from southeast to northwest. The waves were refracted around the local topography to face westward and occurred near the top of the continental shelf, which extends eastward to include Socotra. The arc pattern is produced by movement over a split canyon, causing the waves to be compressed over the ridge, leaving an indentation in the wave front. The overlapping internal wave patterns are believed to illustrate other tide-controlled forces. The darker area that obscures part of the sunglint are caused by wind downdrafts that ruffle the sea surface, changing water pattern reflections.

The arculate fronts of these apparently converging internal waves off the northeast coast of Somalia (11.5N, 51.5E) probably were produced by interaction with two parallel submarine canyons off the Horn of Africa. Internal waves are packets of tidally generated waves traveling within the ocean at varying depths and are not detectable by any surface disturbance.