Earth from Space - Image Information

LOCATION Direction Photo #: ISS015-E-10118 Date: May 2007
Geographic Region: ATLANTIC OCEAN

Iceberg A22A, South Atlantic Ocean

This astronaut photograph illustrates the remains of a giant iceberg--designated A22A-- that broke off Antarctica in 2002. The iceberg was photographed on May 30 at a location of 49.9 degrees south latitude, 23.8 degrees west longitude, which is about a third of the distance from South America towards Cape Town, South Africa. A22A is one of the largest icebergs to drift as far north as 50 degrees south latitude, bringing it beneath the daylight path of the International Space Station (ISS). Crew members aboard the ISS were able to locate the ice mass and photograph it, despite the great masses of clouds that often accompany winter storms in the Southern Ocean. The crew's viewing angle was oblique (not looking straight down) from a point to the west of the berg, and the time of day was early afternoon, as shown by the orientation of the cloud shadows. Dimensions of A22A in early June were 49.9 by 23.4 kilometers, giving it an area of 622 square kilometers, or seven times the area of Manhattan Island.

Once the ISS crew had located the iceberg, they managed to photograph it successfully with the "long", 800-mm lens that provides close-up photos. Handling the longer lens requires practice. Because of the speed of the spacecraft and the length of the lens, it is necessary for the astronaut to "track" the target, that is, to swing the camera slowly to keep the target in the middle of the camera's view finder. If the photographer tracks too slowly or too quickly, the image looks smeared.

This long lens image only shows a small part of the iceberg. A series of parallel lines can be seen. These are probably "hummocks," dunes of snow that have solidified, and they date back to the time when the iceberg was connected to Antarctica. A developing fracture in the ice in also visible.

Images of the iceberg are being acquired from the ISS to support a study of massive icebergs--part of NASA International Polar Year activities. The study will increase understanding of the way ice sheets evolve as climate changes. When large masses of ice float into warmer waters north of their usual latitudes, they undergo change at rapidly increased rates. Changes that would take decades to occur in Antarctica can happen in a few years or even months in the warmer conditions at 50 degrees south latitude. The crew of the ISS will continue to collect imagery of the accelerating breakup of iceberg A22A as weather, orbital, and illumination conditions allow.

More information, including Webcams, on the studies conducted on A22 and at other places in the Antarctic can be found at and the National Snow and Ice Data Center's Icetrek Website (//

Images: All Available Images Low-Resolution 306k
Mission: ISS015  
Roll - Frame: E - 10118
Geographical Name: ATLANTIC OCEAN  
Center Lat x Lon: 48.8S x 24W
Film Exposure:   N=Normal exposure, U=Under exposed, O=Over exposed, F=out of Focus
Percentage of Cloud Cover-CLDP: 10
Camera:: E4
Camera Tilt: 27   LO=Low Oblique, HO=High Oblique, NV=Near Vertical
Camera Focal Length: 800  
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: NE   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: 799  
Date: 20070530   YYYYMMDD
Time: 144611   GMT HHMMSS
Nadir Lat: 50S  
Latitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Nadir Lon: 25W  
Longitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Sun Azimuth: 343   Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point
Space Craft Altitude: 181   nautical miles
Sun Elevation: 17   Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point
Land Views: ISLAND  
Water Views: ICE, OCEAN  
Atmosphere Views:  
Man Made Views:  
City Views:  

Photo is not associated with any sequences

NASA Human
Space Flight
Home Page
Home Page
Image eXchange
JSC Digital
Image Collection
Earth Science &
Remote Sensing

NASA meatball logo
This service is provided by the International Space Station program and the JSC Earth Science & Remote Sensing Unit, ARES Division, Exploration Integration Science Directorate.
ESRS logo