Earth from Space - Image Information

LOCATION Direction Photo #: ISS063-E-51544 Date: Jul. 2020
Geographic Region: IRAQ


An astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) took these photographs of southern Iraq and Saudi Arabia during the summer dust-storm season in the Persian Gulf.

The oblique (first) image gives the wide context of the storm as strong winds raised a dust plume hundreds of miles long. The focal length of the camera lens (28 mm) mimics closely the astronaut's view because it is similar to that of the human eye. The astronaut was looking southwest across the entire lowland of southern Iraq from a point over Iran's Zagros Mountains. The dust was blowing south into Saudi Arabia; clouds hovered over the mountains (foreground) and the horizon.

The second photo was taken just over a minute later. It shows that the dust plume was rising from a relatively small patch of lighter-toned ground near the Euphrates River. This patch of desert lacks irrigation canals and is quite bare of vegetation. The surrounding landscapes are darker-toned because they are covered with croplands (irrigated with water from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers), as well as some wetlands and dark-toned reservoirs. No plumes rose from these areas, where the effects of irrigation - wet soils and crop growth - protect the surface from wind erosion.

The dust plume is also an excellent example of the interconnected nature of Earth's systems. Extensive irrigation in southern Iraq has progressively reduced the areas exposed directly to wind erosion. Thus the amount of dust being transported to Saudi Arabia has decreased over time - probably since irrigated agriculture began here several thousand years ago.

The ability to change quickly from a regional, oblique view (often including the horizon or Earth limb) to a detailed view (looking more vertically) is one of the strengths of astronaut handheld photography that sets it apart from most automated satellite imaging systems.

Images: All Available Images Low-Resolution 344k
Mission: ISS063  
Roll - Frame: E - 51544
Geographical Name: IRAQ  
Center Lat x Lon: 30.5N x 47.5E
Film Exposure:   N=Normal exposure, U=Under exposed, O=Over exposed, F=out of Focus
Percentage of Cloud Cover-CLDP: 50
Camera:: N8
Camera Tilt: 27   LO=Low Oblique, HO=High Oblique, NV=Near Vertical
Camera Focal Length: 28  
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: SE   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: 20200720   YYYYMMDD
Time: 150859   GMT HHMMSS
Nadir Lat: 32.0N  
Latitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Nadir Lon: 46.3E  
Longitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Sun Azimuth: 289   Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point
Space Craft Altitude: 223   nautical miles
Sun Elevation: 9   Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point
Water Views: GULF, RIVER  
Atmosphere Views: CLOUDS, DUST, LIMB, PLUME  
Man Made Views: AGRICULTURE  
City Views:  

Photo is not associated with any sequences

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