STS051-102-83
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Spacecraft nadir point: 20.0° N, 154.7° W

Photo center point: 20.0° N, 155.5° W

Nadir to Photo Center: West

Spacecraft Altitude: 161 nautical miles (298km)
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Image Caption: STS051-102-083 Kohala Mountains, Hawaii, U.S.A. September 1993
The Kohala Mountains on the northernmost peninsula of the big island of Hawaii [their highest point reaching 5505 feet (1678 meters)] show the influence of topography on rainfall--greater rainfall on the northeast slopes have produced an abundance of vegetation, while the southwest slopes exhibit a sparsely vegetated landscape. This photograph provides a classic example of the rain shadow effect--winds from the northeast bring moisture over the mountains and through orographic uplift drop most of the moisture on the windward side of the mountains. The darker linear features on the windward side of the Kohala Mountains indicate that erosion is more severe on the northeast-facing slopes because of increased rainfall.