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Midsummer Sunrise, Gulf of Saint Lawrence

Midsummer Sunrise, Gulf of Saint Lawrence

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) focused a camera lens on the Sun’s reflection point, roughly 1700 kilometers (1050 miles) to the northeast of the spacecraft’s position over Massachusetts at the time this image was taken. This oblique photograph shows the horizon and coastline of the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, with Quebec further inland.

There was only a narrow window of opportunity for this sunglint photograph. The Sun’s reflection was moving across the narrows (separating the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador) and in a break between two cloud banks. Clouds are so common in this part of the world that images of the region are not often acquired from the ISS.

From their altitude in the space station, the astronauts were seeing an early sunrise, which was timed at 4:41 a.m. at Goose Bay in Labrador on the day this photograph was taken. The Sun would only rise at 5:20 a.m. for people on the ground in Massachusetts directly below the spacecraft.

Three airplane condensation trails appear in the left half of the image, and another is visible on the right margin. All of them are oriented along the shortest air route to Europe (over eastern Canada), which is one of the most densely travelled air routes between North America and Europe.

Astronaut photograph ISS056-E-77502 was acquired on July 5, 2018, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using a 145 millimeter lens and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 56 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by M. Justin Wilkinson, Texas State University, JETS Contract at NASA-JSC.