Astronaut Photography

Vail, Colorado
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Vail, Colorado

The snow-covered ski runs of Vail, Colorado, look like white ribbons in contrast to the dark green forests of the Rocky Mountains. This detailed image is part of a larger view of area ski resorts photographed by the STS-100 Space Shuttle crew in April, 2001.

Published Jun 24, 2001

Image of the Day Land

Mount Ararat (Agri Dagi), Turkey
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Mount Ararat (Agri Dagi), Turkey

Mount Ararat (16,940 feet; 5165 meters) is the largest volcano in Turkey. Although not currently active, its most recent eruption has probably been within the last 10,000 years. It is located in extreme northeastern Turkey, near the borders with Iran and Armenia. Southwest of the main peak lies Little Ararat (12,877 feet; 3896 meters). Ahora Gorge is a northeast-trending chasm dropping 6000 feet from the top of the mountain and was the focus of a major earthquake in 1840. A number of claims by different explorers to have found remnants of Noah’s Ark on Mt. Ararat have led to continuing expeditions to the mountain, many of which have focused their searches on the gorge area.

Published Jun 17, 2001

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Egypt’s North Sinai Agricultural Development
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Egypt’s North Sinai Agricultural Development

This time series of photographs of the Mediterranean coast near the Suez Canal shows ten years of changes associated with two of Egypt’s “Mega” Development Projects. At the mouth of the canal, a large auxiliary channel has been formed as part of a new central hub port and industrial zone, known as the East Port-Said Project. Further south, the effects of the Al-Salam (El Salam or “Peace”) Canal and North Sinai Agricultural Development Program can be seen as desert is converted to irrigated agriculture.

Published Jun 10, 2001

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Downtown Houston from Space Station Alpha
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Downtown Houston from Space Station Alpha

A series of digital photographs of Houston illustrates the new detail being obtained for cities around the world by crewmembers on the International Space Station. This image, captured on 17 December 2000 centers on the downtown region and shows extensive detail of streets, parks and major buildings.

Published Jun 3, 2001

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Tierras Bajas Deforestation, Bolivia
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Tierras Bajas Deforestation, Bolivia

The area east of Santa Cruz was originally dry tropical forest.

Published May 27, 2001

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Niagara Falls
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Niagara Falls

The Niagara River forms the U.S.-Canadian Border and allows Lake Erie to drain northwest into Lake Ontario. Lake Ontario is about 100 m lower than Lake Erie; the Falls and the rapids account for most of the elevation difference. The energy derived from water falling over the falls, with average total flows of 750,000 U.S. gallons (2.8 million liters) per second, fuel multiple power plants on the river. Power Plants downstream from the plant generate 4.4 million kilowatts of power for both Ontario and New York.

Published May 20, 2001

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Salt Evaporation Ponds, Dead Sea
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Salt Evaporation Ponds, Dead Sea

The complex of Jordanian salt evaporation ponds at the southern end of the Dead Sea has expanded significantly over the past dozen years. The western margin of the salt ponds marks the Jordan-Israel border. In August 1989, when the crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-28 photographed the region, the northern extension did not exist and the large polygonal ponds in the northwestern and northeastern sectors had not been subdivided. In the view taken by the STS-102 crew in March 2001, one can see that there has also been expansion at the southeastern end, and that levees now segment the northeastern wedge into four ponds.

Published May 13, 2001

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Gobi Dust Over Northeast China and Korea
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Gobi Dust Over Northeast China and Korea

Dust blowing off the Gobi desert eastward across the China toward the Pacific Ocean is a common event in April. Space Shuttle astronauts have photographed these dusts storms several times. These photographs, taken by astronauts on April 25, 1990, show a thick blanket of dust that entirely obscures the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. The dust is being transported from west (left) to east (right). The mountainous spine of the peninsula induces gravity waves in the dust cloud on the downwind (east) side.

Published May 6, 2001

Image of the Day Atmosphere

Another New Lake in Egypt
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Another New Lake in Egypt

As the Space Shuttle Atlantis passed over southern Egypt in mid-March 2001, the STS-102 astronauts were able to document new flooding in the Toshka region west of Lake Nasser. The formation of the Toshka Lakes in southern Egypt is part of Egypt’s New Valley Project. The flooding of the region has been monitored by astronauts since 1998, and continues to show rapid changes.

Published Apr 22, 2001

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Aurora Australis
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Aurora Australis

Reds and greens dominate this view of the northern lights as photographed from the Space Shuttle in May 1991.

Published Apr 15, 2001

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Mt. Kilimanjaro’s Receding Glaciers
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Mt. Kilimanjaro’s Receding Glaciers

Mt. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), the highest point in all Africa, was photographed by the crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-97 on December 2, 2000. Kilimanjaro (Kilima Njaro or “shining mountain” in Swahili) is capped by glaciers on its southern and southwestern flanks.

Published Apr 8, 2001

Image of the Day Land Snow and Ice

Ariake Sea, Kyushu, Japan
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Ariake Sea, Kyushu, Japan

The Isahaya Bay Reclamation project separated approximately 3,000 hectares of tidal flats from the Ariake Sea in 1997. This photograph was taken from the Space Shuttle on April 27, 1998, a year after the sea wall separating Isahaya Bay from the rest of the Ariake Sea was closed.

Published Apr 1, 2001

Image of the Day Land Water

Kilimanjaro—The Shining Mountain
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Kilimanjaro—The Shining Mountain

Glaciers covered most of the summit during the first half of the 20th century, but have shrunk dramatically since then.

Published Mar 25, 2001

Image of the Day Land Snow and Ice

Estevan Coalfield and Power Plants, Saskatchewan
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Estevan Coalfield and Power Plants, Saskatchewan

Snow and ice serve to accent human activities in this photograph taken by the Space Shuttle mission STS-98 crewmembers on February 17, 2001. The Souris River stretches across the photograph from left to right, with the upstream Rafferty Dam Reservoir frozen over on the far left. Two power plants, the Boundary Dam Power Station and the Shand Power Station, can be identified by the smoke plumes and shadows of those plumes. The river is frozen over upstream of the Boundary Dam Power Station, but thermal loading from the plants has warmed the water in the Boundary Dam Reservoir so that it remains nearly ice free. Downstream of the reservoirs, thermal loading is sufficient to maintain open flow in the Souris River.

Published Mar 18, 2001

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land

San Francisco from the International Space Station
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San Francisco from the International Space Station

his image shows a photograph of San Francisco taken as the International Space Station passed 383 km overhead on November 10, 2000. The view includes the area stretching from the Golden Gate Bridge in the north to the San Mateo Bridge on the southeast.

Published Feb 25, 2001

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The International Space Station’s New Destiny Module
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The International Space Station’s New Destiny Module

With much of their time committed to construction of the International Space Station, astronauts and cosmonauts are also beginning their first scientific studies. The Destiny Laboratory just joined to the International Space Station includes the best optical quality window ever flown on a human-occupied spacecraft. The window will eventually host a number of remote sensing experiments that will use a special rack system, the Window Observational Research Facility or WORF, for mechanical and electrical support (Eppler et al. 1996). Until the WORF is complete in June 2002, astronauts are photographing the Earth’s surface as part of an early project, Crew Earth Observations.

Published Feb 16, 2001

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Mount Everest (Chomolungma, Goddess Mother of the World)
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Mount Everest (Chomolungma, Goddess Mother of the World)

Mt. Everest is the highest (29,035 feet, 8850 meters) mountain in the world. This detailed look at Mt. Everest and Lhotse is part of a more extensive photograph of the central Himalaya taken in October 1993 that is one of the best views of the mountain captured by astronauts to date.

Published Feb 4, 2001

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The Blue Marble from Apollo 17
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The Blue Marble from Apollo 17

View of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew traveling toward the moon. This translunar coast photograph extends from the Mediterranean Sea area to the Antarctica south polar ice cap. This is the first time the Apollo trajectory made it possible to photograph the south polar ice cap.

Published Jan 31, 2001

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Water

Lightning over Equatorial Africa
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Lightning over Equatorial Africa

The top of the large thunderstorm, roughly 20 km across, is illuminated by a full moon and frequent bursts of lightning.

Published Jan 21, 2001

Image of the Day Atmosphere

Aurora from the Space Shuttle
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Aurora from the Space Shuttle

Astronauts aboard the STS-97 Space Shuttle mission in December photographed the northern lights after undocking from the International Space Station. TThe faint, thin greenish band stretching across and above the horizon is airglow; radiation emitted by the atmosphere from a layer about 30 km thick and about 100 km altitude.

Published Jan 14, 2001

Image of the Day Atmosphere

Alexandria (Al Iskandariya), Egypt
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Alexandria (Al Iskandariya), Egypt

This image of Alexandria was taken by astronauts on board the International Space Station in December 2000 using an Electronic Still Camera.

Published Dec 31, 2000

Image of the Day Land Life

Erosion by Ice and Water in the Southern Andes
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Erosion by Ice and Water in the Southern Andes

This scene on the remote, rugged Argentine/Chilean border in the far southern Andes Mountains offers numerous, dramatic examples of both erosional processes and features of ice and water.

Published Dec 24, 2000

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Toshka Lakes, Southern Egypt
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Toshka Lakes, Southern Egypt

New lakes in southern Egypt have been monitored by astronauts since 1998. The flooding was first documented in early November 1998. Subsequently, three additional lakes were created by Lake Nasser overflow, as shown by the above photograph taken in December of 1999.

Published Dec 17, 2000

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Smog Layer Over Upstate New York
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Smog Layer Over Upstate New York

The STS-92 Space Shuttle astronauts photographed upstate New York at sunset on October 21, 2000. Water bodies (Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, the Finger Lakes, the St. Lawrence and Niagara Rivers) are highlighted by sunglint (sun reflecting off the water surface), making for a dramatic and unusual regional view.

Published Dec 10, 2000

Image of the Day Atmosphere

First Image of Earth from the International Space Station
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First Image of Earth from the International Space Station

Astronauts used the Electrical Still Camera (ESC) to photograph a mass of storm clouds during Expedition 1.

Published Dec 3, 2000

Image of the Day Atmosphere

Smoky Air over North Carolina and Virginia
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Smoky Air over North Carolina and Virginia

This photograph taken from the Space Shuttle Discovery was taken at a slightly oblique look angle to better view air pollution and other atmospheric features. The photograph was taken with the Shuttle in a position over the Atlantic Ocean looking back toward the North Carolina and Virginia coast. On October 23, 2000, high pressure centered over the northeastern U.S. had created a capping inversion for aerosols. Forest fire smoke and industrial air pollution accumulated under the inversion. The inversion pattern is stronger inland, and the aerosols are being banked against the Piedmont. Relatively clear air is flowing from the ocean over the Carolina coastal plain. Small smoke plumes from individual fires can also be seen on the ground stretching from central Virginia to Raleigh, NC.

Published Nov 18, 2000

Image of the Day Atmosphere