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STS065-75-47
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Spacecraft nadir point: 26.6° N, 65.3° W

Photo center point: 23.5° N, 71.0° W

Nadir to Photo Center: Southwest

Spacecraft Altitude: 160 nautical miles (296km)
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Image Caption: Shuttle astronauts frequently track Saharan dust storms as they blow from north Africa across the Atlantic Ocean. Dust palls blowing from Africa take about a week to cross the Atlantic. Recently, researchers have linked Saharan dust to coral disease, allergic reactions in humans, and red tides. This classic photograph of African dust over the Caribbean was taken at a time when few scientists had considered the possibility of transatlantic dust transport. The image was taken by Space Shuttle astronauts on July 11, 1994. This photograph looks southwest over the northern edge of a large trans-Atlantic dust plume that blew off the Sahara desert in Africa. In this view, Caicos Island in the Bahamas and the mountainous spines of Haiti are partly obscured by the dust. Closer to the foreground, (about 26 degrees north latitude), the skies are clear.

During STS-65 a significant dust pall that originated in western Africa was recorded by a series of low oblique color photographs as it continued its westward trek across the Atlantic Ocean and then the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico area. This particular view captures the northern edge of the dust, positioned just slightly north of the Bahama Islands. This major transport of African dust to the western hemisphere has been recorded periodically by other Shuttle astronauts and earlier Shuttle missions. Scientifically, there is evidence that some of this African dust even reaches the Amazon rainforest and serves as a source of airborne nutrients for rainforest vegetation. This photograph was taken aboard Columbia, Orbiter Vehicle (OV) 102.