APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by guzzman » Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:36 am

Alaska without a doubt

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Amir
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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by Amir » Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:10 am

Hey, this is my first post in this forum too, & I'm exited. :D the question made me reply!!
I'm pretty sure that there is no land in there. all Clouds. the cracks are too large for land, and also the shadow wouldn't feel right if it was land.
according to clues that "website.reader3" & "Arie Melamed-Katz" brought up, ISS must have been somewhere above Pacific Ocean or Atlantic Ocean or South America.
assuming that ISS went ahead of Shuttle after departure and knowing that ISS orbits West to East, we are probably looking eastward. and the line that connects Shuttle to Center of Earth likely passes through South America.
and it'll be Still night in Brasil ,which is out of sight in upper-right, at 02:04UTC as mentioned.
and i don't agree that those pinkish lights are aurora. because they seem to be some kind reflected image as parts of image could be seen in them. dark strips are obvious & the one above the ISS is Definitely not an aurora.
finally i vote for Atlantic Ocean (upside down).

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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by DavidLeodis » Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:42 am

Looks like my garden. I recall waving at the ISS as it passed over. There is a chance though I may have dreamt that! :) My immediate serious thought was the Gulf of Aden area.

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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by geckzilla » Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:32 pm

I agree with Amir and others who have stated it's all ocean and clouds. I searched and searched for even a tiny speck of land but all I can see is cloud layers, ocean, and what I think is the reflection of the sun from portions of the ocean.
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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by Wenz » Thu Mar 04, 2010 2:14 pm

@ website reader 3

So I was right with my original guess:

Maranhao southeast of Sao Louis
Brasilia
Coastline

I have got a picture, with the coastline and with the ISS picture included, but I do not know how to post it.

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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by canoe4fun » Thu Mar 04, 2010 2:46 pm

Not a landscape at all. Just a beautiful sky and seascape.

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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by Quizzer » Fri Mar 05, 2010 12:16 am

The picture is showing the south pacific and the north shore of Antarctica.

Quite easy to find out:
Here we find more pictures of the mission, including some more made after separation: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/STS-130
One of the pictures includes this one: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: ... ound_5.jpg
This picture has in the EXIF data info from the same make of camera, so it very probably is made with the same camera.
The EXIF date also shows that this picture is taken on 2010/02/20 01:34:26, or around 30 minutes before the APOD picture.

If we now take the orbital elements of the ISS ->
ISS
1 25544U 98067A 04366.97178262 .00025660 00000-0 19490-3 0 4889
2 25544 51.6395 35.9552 0003614 149.9145 282.2606 15.72139126349398
and trace back in your favorite sat tracker with 01:34:26 on 20 feb, we get a position close to, or above Indonesia.

We then go find the landmass and islands of the picture in out trusty google earth, and we find that we are looking north to south at east Timor, with the north coast of Australia in the background:
http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=-10. ... 85&t=h&z=8
(we're looking north to south, so it is better to use google earth so we can put north down and south up to get the exact orientation as in the picture)

Now, we established a correct sync with the orbital element data and the EXIF date, so we fast forward to 02:04:57 in the sat track, and we end up close to the Antarctic in the south Pacific.
Bonus points to see that we are still looking north to south because we are still looking at the ISS from around the same angle and we can assume that in 30 minutes the station has not turned enough to make the angle very different.
So, until someone else can make a better judgment on better data, we are seeing the north shore of the Antarctic.

(yes, I created an account just to post this)

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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by Chris Peterson » Fri Mar 05, 2010 12:51 am

Quizzer wrote:The picture is showing the south pacific and the north shore of Antarctica.
Aren't all the shores of Antarctica the "north shore"? <g>

I don't think Antarctica is remotely visible from the ISS anywhere over the South Pacific. The only part of Antarctica that stands a chance of not being over the horizon from the ISS is the Antarctic Peninsula, which might just be visible in the far south when the ISS is passing near southern South America. That said, however, I am unable to find a single image of Antarctica made from the ISS, despite the thousands that are available online, and which show most of the rest of the world (at latitudes lower than about ±60°).
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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by Quizzer » Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:46 am

Chris Peterson wrote:Aren't all the shores of Antarctica the "north shore"? <g>
Hm, yah, good point :wink:.
Chris Peterson wrote:I don't think Antarctica is remotely visible from the ISS anywhere over the South Pacific. The only part of Antarctica that stands a chance of not being over the horizon from the ISS is the Antarctic Peninsula, which might just be visible in the far south when the ISS is passing near southern South America. That said, however, I am unable to find a single image of Antarctica made from the ISS, despite the thousands that are available online, and which show most of the rest of the world (at latitudes lower than about ±60°).
This is true, so it might be that we are seeing ice sheets only, or that it is indeed just clouds and water.
But the data of the orbit trajectory does put it at the most southerly point at the specific time, and it does put us in the south pacific.
The ISS can't get anywhere else in 30 minutes if the previous picture was east Timor.
Maybe we can find more pictures in between or before/after these times, to double check NORAD, but I doubt that the NORAD data is false :wink:.

My hypothesis does rely on 1 premise, and that is that the EXIF time's are in sync on 2 pictures.
So, same camera and no one edited the time on the camera after the east Timor picture.
I assume this is a valid premise though, it would be mean of NASA to lead us on a wild goose chase.

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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by Amir » Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:40 am

nice Conclution Quizzer! i didn't check it in a tracker, but i guess 30 minutes is totally enough for ISS to get there.
what about the daytime in there? does it match with the picture? it seems it is dawn or dusk in the upper right region.
anyone knows how the data could be found for sure?

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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by Quizzer » Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:39 am

Amir wrote:what about the daytime in there? does it match with the picture? it seems it is dawn or dusk in the upper right region.
I also checked that, for added confidence. The terminator is ahead about 30 minutes, so that would fit perfectly.
I think you are right with dusk showing in the corners, especially comparing with the previous shots, where it is clearly full daylight.

Also some more pictures which I could locate:

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/ima ... 012150.jpg
Taken on 01:35:40, looking South East, above Troughton Island, Australia

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/ima ... 012155.jpg
Taken on 01:36:20, looking South East, some 150km south west of Darwin, Australia

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/ima ... 012173.jpg
Taken on 01:39:08, Hard to pinpoint, but if you look at the dark shadow like features on the bottom of the picture, with the apparent hole in some shadow, it very much looks like we are looking again, south west at the feature on:
http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=-25. ... 43&t=h&z=9
It fits with the lighter vertical band to the right and the more darker riverbed, also to the right.
Also, the shape fits very well with that area.

Taken all this into account, we are clearly moving south west, so following that path, I still say, south pacific, probably at the most southerly point of orbit.
(again, taking into account that nobody changed the time on the camera)

Unfortunately, there are no more pictures between the last and the APOD one, and also none after (first one being 5 hours after)
The last would make sense if we were passing through the night just after this one is taken.

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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by Chris Peterson » Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:31 pm

Quizzer wrote:This is true, so it might be that we are seeing ice sheets only, or that it is indeed just clouds and water.
I'd vote for clouds and water. I see nothing in the image that looks like land, and nothing that looks all that much like ice. And at this time of year, the ISS shouldn't be over any sort of sea ice at all in the Southern Hemisphere.
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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by Amir » Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:02 pm

there is no landmass in in the picture, not even ice sheets! and also South pole & ice sheets could not be seen in the view ISS ever has.
so i guess problem solved, almost accurate simulations show that in 20/2/2010 at 2:04 ISS was above the pacific, seems that we have enough evidence to say that.
i think it makes sense.

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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by podkayn » Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:27 pm

OK, I give up my idea of southern Africa (even foreshortened, the inward curve isn't the right shape) and throw in my lot with the Australian camp. The inward curve, seen behind the upper left bank of solar collectors, would be the Great Southern Bight, and the white stuff is clouds, though there is still some possibility of ice off of Antarctica.
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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by madmoose » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:57 pm

I believe this is a shot of the northwest coast of Canada and Alaska near the border and the lower part of the arc of the globe shows the current Arctic polar cap.

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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by Quizzer » Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:58 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:I'd vote for clouds and water. I see nothing in the image that looks like land, and nothing that looks all that much like ice. And at this time of year, the ISS shouldn't be over any sort of sea ice at all in the Southern Hemisphere.
After re-examining the picture at 100%, I must con-cure, indeed, only clouds and water (lots of clouds too).
And indeed, it would not be the season for ice this far north.

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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by alter-ego » Sat Mar 06, 2010 6:57 am

The amount of clouds really make this tricky. After some effort locating morning / evening terminator locations that are correctly coincident with ISS and the view perspective, I've landed upon the boot of Italy as the barely visible land mass. Unfortunately, I could not make sense out of the time stamps for that image and other STS-130 images. Neither UT or EST could put the craft in a reasonable location. The ISS did go over Italy about 5 hours after separation from the shuttle, and I read that RJN said this quiz was relatively easy, so on my first go-around, I'm going with Italy.

Will keep puzzling..
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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by alter-ego » Sun Mar 07, 2010 3:25 am

Well, in my biased viewpoint, I'm further convinced the picture is over the Mediterranean, most likely Italy's boot or Sardinia. I personally viewed the ISS / Shuttle early morning on Feb 20 (also a very reasonble terminator condition for solution). Their observed separation was ~15 degrees (approx 100km). The weather was clear as far as the eye could see from Seattle, so I think the large separation between the space crafts and the big difference in weather condtions rules out the Pacific NW. The link below shows the ISS ground track approaching Italy as well as times for local sunrise and when ISS became sunlit. The GE picture shows the terminator as well.

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/8z ... directlink

This remains speculative, but the data supports this scenario as possible solution.
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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by Richard Bennett » Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:55 am

The background location is the Hudson Bay region of Northern Canada; Lat about 60 degrees north and Long between 90 and 75 degrees west

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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by BMAONE23 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:48 am

It is similar to this image but upside down. Though I can't speak for the apparent lack of sea ice in the bay

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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by alter-ego » Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:59 am

This may be my last post on this as I'm starting to go in circles (no pun intended). I am much less sure of my earlier statements as I now have four candidate solutions based on only simple criteria:

- Two in Northern Hemisphere (Maine / Nova Scota, Italy)
- Two in Southern Hemisphere (South Australia, Western Australia)

I have the Google Earth / ISS ground track pictures here: http://picasaweb.google.com/okubet/APODMar32010#

In order to arrive at these locations, I've gone over 17 ISS terminator crossings from separation (2/19) to my observation in Seattle area (2/20). The Great Lakes don't give as good a fit, and Lake Champlain doesn't work. The closest ISS approach(es) to Champlain (southern tip, 51 deg lat) occured in darkness so the sunlit APOD background cannot be Champlain.

Barring coastline / area details (not visible well at all in POD), my interpretation criteria involved:
1. Necessary ISS terminator proximity
2. Coastline crudely parallel to terminator
3. Near-background land in darkness
4. Coastline and far-background (clouds and water) are sunlit

By these criteria and depending on hemisphere, the ISS experienced either a "sunrise" or "sunset" within minutes of when the POD was taken.
**If one could access weather satellite image archives, cloud patterns might pin down the location**
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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03 )

Post by Amir » Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:39 pm

wow,i didn't know how boring it would be, alter-ego, it's cool though!
i spent a lot of time searching for the cloud pattern that matches with the one in the image, but (1) since those patterns are changing very quickly, you have to find the image which has a close timing & that is, lets not say impossible, but so hard actually. & (2) searching for the patterns in such a big images will be extremely hard & boring!
but, i guess i found something very similar (on 20th Feb day at 2:55) near Australia, but i'm not so sure.

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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by alter-ego » Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:42 pm

Amir - Hats off to you for struggling through that excercise.
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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by Jay » Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:18 am

Chris Peterson wrote: ++little snip++ The only part of Antarctica that stands a chance of not being over the horizon from the ISS is the Antarctic Peninsula, which might just be visible in the far south when the ISS is passing near southern South America. That said, however, I am unable to find a single image of Antarctica made from the ISS, despite the thousands that are available online, and which show most of the rest of the world (at latitudes lower than about ±60°).
I don't think there are alot of people living in Antartica who would be going online to look at images taken of their neighborhood from outer space. :P

That said, your earlier comment about the angle of incidence for taking photos toward the horizon would make it very easy to include Antartica in an image when the space shuttle was repositioning itself away from the ISS.

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Re: APOD: The ISS from Above (2010 Mar 03)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:37 am

Jay wrote:That said, your earlier comment about the angle of incidence for taking photos toward the horizon would make it very easy to include Antartica in an image when the space shuttle was repositioning itself away from the ISS.
How so? The shuttle is in an orbit with the same inclination as the ISS. When it's leaving the ISS, it never goes into a substantially higher orbit. So its view is the same as that of the ISS, and that really doesn't extend as far south as Antarctica.
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