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NASA releases stunning images of Earth

Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - 01:38

Nov. 2 - NASA has released new images of Earth captured during October from the International Space Station. Using both still and video cameras on board, astronauts took the images which technicians on the ground turned into digitized videos. The sequences come courtesy of the Image Science and Analysis Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center.

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From its orbit 460 kilometres (286 miles) above Earth the crew onboard the ISS turned on the cameras and recorded images as it raced above the planet, travelling at nearly 28,000 km (17,000 miles) per hour. In the first sequence of images, recorded on October 15, the space station orbits above the cloud covered North Atlantic Ocean toward Europe. Tracking southeast, the first view of lights comes from the United Kingdom, with cities like Liverpool and London identifiable by the congestion of city lights. Across the English Channel, the cities of Brussels and Rotterdam (left) and Paris all stand out amid a network of smaller cities in Western Europe. The pass continues over the snow-covered Alps and to the Italian Peninsula, where lightning storms cover the southern half of the peninsula. The ISS then tracks over the Mediterranean Sea, with Greece to the left of track, northern Africa right of track, and the island of Crete. Finally, the pass finishes near the Nile River Delta and the Red Sea. One week later, on October 21, the crew recorded another spectacular orbit. Beginning over Turkmenistan, east of the Caspian Sea, the space station show the city lights of Hong Kong as it continues south-eastward towards the India-Pakistan borderline. Pakistan's second largest city, Lahore, can be easily seen as the brightly lit area left of track. Immediately downtrack of Lahore is New Delhi, India's capital city. The pass continues south as lightning storms flash throughout the video. The pass ends over western Indonesia, looking left of track at the island of Sumatra. On October 18, the crew recorded a pass from just south of Alaska to eastern Cuba. The camera used for this imagery was north-facing, so the Aurora Borealis stays visible throughout the video. Lights from southern Canada show up before passing into central North America. Through the clouds, the U.S. city of Chicago is brightly lit at the south end of Lake Michigan. A few lightning storms can be seen in the large cloud mass over the Central United States. The pass ends as the ISS orbits over the East Coast of the United States. The final pass, shot on October 15, starts over Newfoundland, passes over the North Atlantic Ocean to central Africa. At the far left of screen, the Aurora Borealis can be seen. As the ISS heads southeast over the Atlantic Ocean, the lights of Spain and Portugal can be seen coming up in the distance, with France to the north . As the ISS flies over the Mediterranean, the Balearic Islands show up well before the deserts in northern Africa. The darker patches seen through the Libyan Desert are rock outcrops amidst miles of sand dunes. The pass ends over central Africa.

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NASA releases stunning images of Earth

Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - 01:38