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STS051-102-85
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Spacecraft nadir point: 19.8° N, 154.1° W

Photo center point: 19.5° N, 155.5° W

Nadir to Photo Center: West

Spacecraft Altitude: 161 nautical miles (298km)
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Image Caption: STS051-102-85 Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii, U.S.A September 1993
During an early morning pass over the Hawaiian Islands, the STS-51 crew had a rare crystal-clear view of the erupting Kilauea Volcano. Kilauea, on the southeast side of the island of Hawaii, has been erupting almost continuously since January 1983. Kilauea's summit caldera, with the smaller Halemaumau Crater nestled within it (just above the center of this southwest-looking picture) is highlighted by the early morning sunlight. A string of craters extends eastward along the East Rift Zone, site of the current eruption. Steam blows south from the main crater lake, Pu'u O'o, now filled with basaltic lava. The hot lava travels downhill to the ocean through lava tubes and enters the ocean along the eastern side of the newly built (less than a year old) Kamoamoa Delta. There the hot lava (roughly 1150 degrees C) meets the cool ocean water (22 degrees C), an acid-rich steam plume forms and is carried to the south and west. The lava flows that covered roads and subdivisions between 1983 and 1990 can be seen as dark flows to the east (toward the lower left) of the steam plumes in this photo. The summit crater and lava flows of Mauna Loa Volcano fill the right side of the photo. The clarity of this photograph is remarkable. Features like Volcano House and the Kilauea Visitor Center on the edge of the caldera, the small subdivisions east of the summit, the Ola'a Rain Forest north of the summit, and the agricultural land along the coast are easily identified.


The STS-51 crew had a clear view of the erupting Kilauea volcano during the early morning pass over the Hawaiian islands. Kilauea, on the southwest side of the island of Hawaii, has been erupting almost continuously since January, 1983. Kilauea's summit caldera, with the smaller Halemaumau crater nestled within, is highlighted in the early morning sun (just above the center of the picture). The lava flows which covered roads and subdivisions in 1983-90 can be seen as dark flows to the east (toward the upper right) of the steam plumes on this photo. The summit crater and lava flows of Mauna Loa volcano make up the left side of the photo. Features like the Volcano House and Kilauea Visitor Center on the edge of the caldera, the small subdivisions east of the summit, Ola's Rain Forest north of the summit, and agricultural land along the coast are easily identified.