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  Image: Geographic Location Direction Photo #: ISS046-E-3395 Date: Dec. 2015
Geographic Region: USA-WYOMING

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  Gillette coal pits, Wyoming

Orbiting over the Pacific Ocean towards the west coast of the US, an astronaut aboard the International Space Station took this detailed image using the longest lens available (1150 mm) on the Space Station--camera, lens and teleconverter weigh 13.4 lbs (6.24 kg) on the ground, but nothing in the weightless environment aboard the ISS, allowing freer handling by the astronaut. The image shows angular gashes in the snow-covered landscape of northeastern Wyoming. The features that caught the astronaut's eye are the open-cast pits of the several coal mines that operate out of the small town of Gillette, in a region known as the Powder River Basin, situated between the Bighorn Mountains and the Black Hills. The Powder River Basin is now the major source of US low-sulfur coal, making Wyoming the largest coal-producer in the US. With other mines (not shown in this image), the county where Gillette is situated has the highest average income in the state of Wyoming--although employment in the energy industry has started to decline slightly in the last few years.

The outskirts of Gillette appear at image lower right. The coal lies at very shallow depth, making it economic to mine. The steep walls of the overlying rocks cast strong shadows in this snowy scene. Wind distributes coal dust so that the pits appear much darker, especially the largest pit in the view (image upper left). For scale, the longer arm of the Gillette airport (lower margin center) measures 0.9 miles (1.43 km). A summer view of another coal mine nearby in the arid landscapes of the Powder River Basin can be seen here.

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Images: All Available Images Low-Resolution 144k
Mission: ISS046  
Roll - Frame: E - 3395
Geographical Name: USA-WYOMING  
Center Lat x Lon: 44.4N x 105.5W
Film Exposure:   N=Normal exposure, U=Under exposed, O=Over exposed, F=out of Focus
Percentage of Cloud Cover-CLDP: 0
Camera: N6
Camera Tilt: 15   LO=Low Oblique, HO=High Oblique, NV=Near Vertical
Camera Focal Length: 1150  
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: W   The direction from the nadir to the center point, N=North, S=South, E=East, W=West
Stereo?:   Y=Yes there is an adjacent picture of the same area, N=No there isn't
Orbit Number:  
Date: 20151228   YYYYMMDD
Time: 164326   GMT HHMMSS
Nadir Lat: 44.1N  
Latitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Nadir Lon: 104.6W  
Longitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Sun Azimuth: 148   Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point
Space Craft Altitude: 214   nautical miles
Sun Elevation: 16   Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point
Land Views: BASIN  
Water Views: RIVER  
Atmosphere Views: DUST  
Man Made Views: AIRPORT  
City Views:  
Photo is not associated with any sequences

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