Sunset from the ISS



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English: This spectacular image of sunset on the Indian Ocean was taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The image presents an edge-on, or limb view, of the Earth’s atmosphere as seen from orbit. The Earth’s curvature is visible along the horizon line, or limb, that extends across the image from centre left to lower right. Above the darkened surface of the Earth, a brilliant sequence of colours roughly denotes several layers of the atmosphere.

Deep oranges and yellows appear in the troposphere, which extends from the Earth’s surface to 6–20 km high. This layer contains over 80 percent of the mass of the atmosphere and almost all of the water vapour, clouds, and precipitation. Several dark cloud layers are visible within this layer. Variations in the colours are due mainly to varying concentrations of either clouds or aerosols (airborne particles or droplets). The pink to white region above the clouds appears to be the stratosphere; this atmospheric layer generally has little or no clouds and extends up to approximately 50 km above the Earth’s surface. Above the stratosphere, blue layers mark the upper atmosphere (including the mesosphere, thermosphere, ionosphere, and exosphere) as it gradually fades into the blackness of outer space.

The ISS was located over the southern Indian Ocean when this picture was taken, with the astronaut observer looking towards the west. Astronauts aboard the ISS see 16 sunrises and sunsets per day due to their high orbital velocity (greater than 28,000 km per hour). The multiple chances for photography are fortunate, as at that speed each sunrise or sunset event only lasts a few seconds! Image acquired with a Nikon D3 digital camera, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center.

Español: esta imagen espectacular de un atardecer sobre el Océano Índico fue tomada por astronautas a bordo de la Estación Espacial Internacional (EEI). La imagen presenta una vista del borde de la tierra, vista desde su orbita. La curvatura de la tierra es visible a lo largo de la línea del horizonte, que se extiende a través de la imagen desde el centro del lado izquierdo, hasta la esquina inferior derecha. Sobre la oscurecida superficie de la Tierra, una brillante secuencia de colores denota a grandes razgos varias capas de la atmósfera.

Los naranjas profundos y amarillos aparecen en la tropósfera, que se extiende desde la superficie terrestre a 6-20 km de alto. Esta capa contiene más del 80% de la masa de la atmósfera y casi todo el vapor de agua, las nubes y las precipitaciones. Varias capas oscuras de nubes son visibles en esta capa. Las variaciones de color son debidas principalmente a concentraciones variables de nubes o aerosoles (particulas o gotas suspendidas en el aire). La región rosa a blanca sobre las nubes parece ser la estratósfera; esta capa atmosférica generalmente no contiene prácticamente nubes, y se extiende hasta aproximadamente 50km sobre la superficie terrestre. Sobre la estratósfera, capas azules marcan la atmósfera superior (incluyendo la mesósfera, termósfera, ionósfera y exósfera) y gradualmente se desvanece a la profunda oscuridad del espacio exterior.

La EEI estaba localizada sobre el Océano Índico cuando esta foto fue tomada, con el astronauta observando hacia el oeste. Los astronautas a bordo de la EEI ven 16 amaneceres y atardeceres por día debido a su gran velocidad orbital (mayor a 28,000 km por hora). Las múltiples oportunidades para la fotografía son verdaderamente escasas, ya que a esa velocidad cada amanecer o atardecer solo dura unos segundos! Imagen obtenida con una cámara digital Nikon D3, provista para el experimento de Observaciones de la Tierra por la tripulación de la EEI y el Laboratorio de Imágenes y Análisis del Centro Espacial Johnson.

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Date 14 June 2010(2010-06-14)
Source NASA Earth Observatory
Author ISS Expedition 23 crew

Camera location

8° 49' 41" S, 74° 11' 51.1" E

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Shuttle.svg This image or video was catalogued by Johnson Space Center of the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under Photo ID: ISS023-E-57948.
This tag does not indicate the copyright status or the source of the attached work. A normal copyright tag and a source are still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.


Public domain This file is in the public domain because it was created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that "NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted". (See Template:PD-USGov, NASA copyright policy page or JPL Image Use Policy.)


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EXIF data:
File name sunset_from_the_iss.jpg
Size, Mbytes 0.3905537109375
Mime type image/jpeg
Camera manufacturer NIKON CORPORATION
Camera model NIKON D3
Orientation of image 1
Image resolution in width direction 240
Image resolution in height direction 240
Unit of X and Y resolution 2
Exposure time 1/400 sec (0.0025)
F number f / 5.6
Exposure program 3
ISO speed rating 200
Exif version 0221
Lens focal length 400 mm
Date and time original image was generated 2010:05:25 14:25:14
Date and time image was made digital data 2010:05:25 14:25:14
Shutter speed 8.643856
Aperture 4.970854
Exposure bias 0
Maximum lens aperture 5
Metering mode 2
Color space information 1
Exif image width 4256
Exif image length 2829
Sensing method 2
Scene type 
CFA pattern 
Digital zoom ratio 1
Focal length in 35 mm film 400 mm
Software used Adobe Photoshop CS4 Windows

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