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STS049-76-2
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Spacecraft nadir point: 19.8° N, 110.7° W

Photo center point: 18.0° N, 111.0° W

Nadir to Photo Center: South

Spacecraft Altitude: 150 nautical miles (278km)
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Image Caption:
STS049-76-002 - Socorro Island Wakes - 17! N, 111.3! W
Island wakes are common events in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The
cloud swirls are called Rvon Karman vortices.S They occur when
surface winds flow around islands and the surface airmass is
capped by an inversion. Here, the eddy pattern is not visible
until the moisture field is deep enough to form stratocumulus
clouds downwind from the island.




This series of island cloud wakes were observed off Socorro Island, Mexico (18.0N, 111.0W) in the eastern Pacific Ocean where they are common events. The cloud wakes, referred to as von Karman vortices, occur when surface winds flow around islands and the surface airmass is capped by an inversion. In this instance, the eddy pattern is not visible until the moisture field is deep enough to form stratocumulus clouds downwind from the island.