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The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth

(NASA Crew Earth Observations)


















"We catch a glimpse of a huge swirl of clouds out the window over the middle of the Pacific Ocean, or the boot of Italy jutting down into the Mediterranean, or the brilliant blue coral reefs of the Caribbean strutting their beauty before the stars. And...we experienced those uniquely human qualities: awe, curiosity, wonder, joy, amazement." (Russell L. Schweickart, Apollo Astronaut ("The Home Planet")






Photographing the Earth from the International Space Station

Database Fields

The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth

Tables in this Database Note that in the tables below, with the exception of the key fields mission, roll, and frame, that fields may have the value of NULL. Click on the linked field names for more detailed information.
FRAMES
Field NamePossible ValuesDescription
mission See the selection list on the query forms that list mission options for the possible values. This is the name of the mission using an approved standard for Earth Observations purposes.
filmms See the selection list on the main form for the possible values. This is the name of the mission as it is printed on the film.
roll NNNX where NNN is the right-justified numeric portion of the roll, no leading zeros, and X is an alphabetic extension if available, otherwise it is blank. At least one mission has odd roll IDs which start a letter. For these missions simply left justify. The roll identifies the roll of film the photograph is on. For digitally-acquired images in the NASA collection, it is E. For digitally-acquired images from other sources, it takes on other values:
SourceValue
EarthKam ESC[y] where y is the EarthKam mission designation for ISS. Prior to ISS, the y is left off.
frame NNNNNNNXX where NNNNNNN is the right-justified numeric portion of the frame, no leading zeros, and XX is the right-justified alphabet extension on the frame ID e.g.
"      1 A"
&
"1234567AB"
The frame identifies the photograph in the roll. For digitally-acquired images, it is uniquely assigned either in downlink sequence or based on the time the image was acquired.
geon See the selection list on the main form for the possible values. This usually identifies the country. Sometimes, when a country was unavailable, it identifies the predominant feature, such as "CLOUDS" or "OCEAN".
feat 75 characters of text. This identifies features found in the photograph such as smoke or city names. We recommend you use the most specific terms possible, and avoid generic terms such as RIVER or R that may be abbreviated and will occur in thousands of entries.
lat Signed floating point number. Valid values range in [-90.0,90.0] although the photographs will be virtually all between -60 and 60. This is the latitude of the center point of the photograph. Negative values indicate South of the equator.
lon Signed floating point number. Valid values range in [-180.0,180.0]. This is the longitude of the center point of the photograph. Negative values indicate West of the prime meridian.
expo "N" (normal), "U" (under-exposed), "O" (over-exposed), "F" (out of focus). Indicates the film exposure quality. Not tracked after STS096 (June 1999).
tilt "NV" (near vertical), "LO" (low oblique), "HO" (high oblique), look angle. Indicates how the camera was tilted with respect to the Earth. "NV" indicates that the camera was looking nearly straight down at the Earth. "LO" indicates that some angle is noticeable but not enough to show the horizon. "HO" indicates that the tilt is great enough that the horizon is visible. When enough information is available to calculate a look angle, instead of using the tilt values of "NV" and "LO", the look angle from nadir to the center of the photo as measured from the camera/spacecraft location is used.
cldp Integer [0, 100]. Specifies what percentage of the photograph is clouds.
steo "Y" or "N". "Y" means Yes there is an adjacent photograph of the same area. "N" means No there is not. Not tracked after STS096 (June 1999)
fclt Positive integer. Units are millimeters. Indicates the focal length of the camera lens used. Note that this is not logged by the crew. So for film cameras the most likely lens size is determined by analyzing the photograph. Electronic cameras record the lens size and so that is what is used for them.
caption "Y" or "N". "Y" means Yes there is a caption in the captions table for this photograph. "N" means no there is not.
image Positive integer. This is a count of how many images there are for this photograph in the images table.
dir "N ", "NE", "E ", "SE", "S ", "SW", "W ", or "NW". Indicates the direction from the spacecraft nadir (suborbital) point to the center point of the photograph. "N" stands for North, "S" for South, "E" for East, and "W" for West.

Since the camera can be rotated in any direction without affecting the direction from the spacecraft nadir point to the center of the photograph, and since photographs can be viewed at any rotation, this field does not suggest that the top of the photograph is in the direction specified. This field is most useful for oblique photographs where it is possible to see the direction from the camera, visible as the edge of the photograph that appears to be the closest, to the center of the photograph, and thus determine the compass direction associated with that vector.

onc, jnc Text fields. Specifies the ONC and JNC map identifications for navigational charts produced by the Defense Mapping Agency. These fields were no longer recorded beginning with STS093 (July 1999).
nlat Signed floating point number. Valid values range in [-90.0,90.0] although the photographs will be virtually all between -60 and 60. This is the latitude of the nadir point (suborbital point) of the space craft at the time the photograph was taken. Negative values indicate South of the equator.
nlon Signed floating point number. Valid values range in [-180.0,180.0]. This is the longitude of the nadir point (suborbital point) of the space craft at the time the photograph was taken. Negative values indicate West of the prime meridian.
pdate 8 character text field consisting of numeric digits. The GMT date the photograph was taken in the form "YYYYMMDD" where YYYY is the year, MM is the month, and DD is the day of the month.
ptime 6 character text field consisting of numeric digits. The GMT time the photograph was taken in the form "HHMMSS" where HH is the hour, MM is the minute, and SS is the second.
orb Positive integer. This is the orbit number the space craft was on when the photograph was taken. Note that this is only meaningful on short duration flights that orbited the Earth.
azi Positive integer in the range [0, 360). Specifies the angle in degrees from north to the location of the sun measured clockwise at the nadir location.
elev Integer in the range [-90, 90]. Specifies the sun elevation angle. This is the angle from the horizon to the sun measured in degrees at nadir. Negative values indicate that the sun is below the horizon.
alt Positive integer. Specifies the altitude above the Earth's surface of the space craft in nautical miles.
camera This is a two character code. See the metatdata link at the left for possible values. This is the make of camera.
film This is an eight character code. See the metatdata link at the left for possible values. For film cameras, this is the type of film. For digital cameras, this gives the imaging format.

CAPTIONS
Field NamePossible ValuesDescription
mission See the selection list on the main form for the possible values. This is the name of the mission using an approved standard for Earth Observations purposes.
roll NNNX where NNN is the right-justified numeric portion of the roll, no leading zeros, and X is an alphabetic extension if available, otherwise it is blank. At least one mission has odd roll IDs which start a letter. For these missions simply left justify. The roll identifies the roll of film the photograph is on. For digitally-acquired images in the NASA collection, it is E. For digitally-acquired images from other sources, it takes on other values:
SourceValue
EarthKam ESC[y] where y is the EarthKam mission designation for ISS. Prior to ISS, the y is left off.
frame NNNNNNNXX where NNNNNNN is the right-justified numeric portion of the frame, no leading zeros, and XX is the right-justified alphabet extension on the frame ID e.g.
"      1 A"
&
"1234567AB"
The frame identifies the photograph in the roll. For digitally-acquired images, it is uniquely assigned either in downlink sequence or based on the time the image was acquired.
caption Text. This contains all the captions along with their HTML in a single 32765 character text field.

IMAGES
Field NamePossible ValuesDescription
mission See the selection list on the main form for the possible values. This is the name of the mission using an approved standard for Earth Observations purposes.
roll NNNX where NNN is the right-justified numeric portion of the roll, no leading zeros, and X is an alphabetic extension if available, otherwise it is blank. At least one mission has odd roll IDs which start a letter. For these missions simply left justify. The roll identifies the roll of film the photograph is on. For digitally-acquired images in the NASA collection, it is E. For digitally-acquired images from other sources, it takes on other values:
SourceValue
EarthKam ESC[y] where y is the EarthKam mission designation for ISS. Prior to ISS, the y is left off.
frame NNNNNNNXX where NNNNNNN is the right-justified numeric portion of the frame, no leading zeros, and XX is the right-justified alphabet extension on the frame ID e.g.
"      1 A"
&
"1234567AB"
The frame identifies the photograph in the roll. For digitally-acquired images, it is uniquely assigned either in downlink sequence or based on the time the image was acquired.
version 3 character text field. Valid values are quoted positive integers other than 1 e.g. "2 " and "123". This identifies how many different images of a given type (see the type field) there are for the photograph. If there is only one version, then this field is NULL.
filename Text field of the form mission-roll-frame_version.type where _version only exists if the version is not NULL. There are no spaces in this field. This is the name of the image file.
width, height Positive integers. Specifies the width and height of the image in pixels.
annotated "Y" or "N". "Y" means Yes the image is annotated. "N" means No it is not.
cropped "Y" or "N". "Y" means Yes the image is cropped. "N" means No it is not.
directory "SCANNED" or "lowres\mission". Specifies the directory where the image file is located.
purpose Text. This is a brief phrase identifying the purpose for why this image file was created.
comments Text. Any comments deemed appropriate.
filesize positive integer. The size of the image file in bytes.