For more than 40 years astronauts have been observing Earth, taking photographs or digital images from their spacecraft. Today, a robust program of observation from the International Space Station (ISS) has yielded hundreds of thousands of images of the Earth's surface collected since 2001. Seeing Earth through the eyes of an astronaut is exciting to the general public, and the images are popular in classrooms. Because the ISS has an orbital inclination of 51.6 degrees (the north-south limits of the orbit are at 51.6 degrees latitude), high latitude observations are common. Some of the most striking images collected include views of polar phenomena. Astronauts routinely pass above brilliant red and green aurora; view high, wispy clouds at the top of the atmosphere; or look down on glaciers and floating ice rafts. These images, framed and captured by humans, are easily interpreted by students and teachers. Astronaut observations provide a way to visualize complicated polar phenomena and communicate about them to students of all ages. Over the next two years, astronauts aboard the ISS will formally focus their observations on polar phenomena as participants in the International Polar Year (IPY). Imagery acquisition from the ISS will be coordinated with other IPY scientists staging studies and field campaigns on the ground. The imagery collected from the ISS will be cataloged and served on NASA's web-based database of images. The website allows investigators, students and teachers to search through the imagery, assemble image datasets, and download the imagery and the metadata.
Gateway to Astronaut Photography
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What is IPY
Friday, 22 December 2006 07:26
International Space Station Synchronized ObservationsWritten by Administrator
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