The Cloudy Island Of Sulawesi As Seen From Orbit



The strip of land outlined by morning sunglint is the northern peninsula of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

The darker areas in the lower portion of the photo mark the edge of the day-night line, also known as the terminator.

Indonesia sits in a notoriously cloudy region of the globe. In the image foreground, clouds cast long shadows as the Sun's rays strike at a low angle. Toward the horizon, clouds cast shorter shadows where the Sun is already higher in the sky.

Scientists who work with astronaut photos are well-practiced at identifying places on Earth through the perspective of an astronaut looking out from the ISS. However, consistently cloudy regions are more difficult to recognize. Sunglint helps by highlighting coastlines that are often obscured by clouds and aerosols. Yet those same clouds may have been exactly what inspired the astronaut to capture this scene.

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