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Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico
05.06.10
ISS023-E-032398 -- Oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico
ISS023-E-032398 (4 May 2010) --- Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, Expedition 23 flight engineer, photographed the Mississippi Delta showing the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico on May 4, 2010. Part of the river delta and nearby Louisiana coast appear dark in the sunglint. This phenomenon is caused by sunlight reflecting off the water surface, in a mirror-like manner, directly back towards the astronaut observer onboard the International Space Station (ISS). The sunglint improves the identification of the oil spill which is creating a different water texture (and therefore a contrast) between the smooth and rougher water of the reflective ocean surface. Other features which cause a change in surface roughness that can be seen in sunglint are wind gusts, naturally occurring oils that will be gathered by and take the form of water currents or wave patterns, and less windy areas behind islands. Photo credit: NASA

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ISS023-E-032396 -- Oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico + View high-resolution
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ISS023-E-032396 (4 May 2010) --- Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, Expedition 23 flight engineer, photographed the tail end of the Mississippi Delta showing the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico on May 4, 2010. Part of the river delta and nearby Louisiana coast appear dark in the sunglint. This phenomenon is caused by sunlight reflecting off the water surface, in a mirror-like manner, directly back towards the astronaut observer onboard the International Space Station (ISS). The sunglint improves the identification of the oil spill which is creating a different water texture (and therefore a contrast) between the smooth and rougher water of the reflective ocean surface. Other features which cause a change in surface roughness that can be seen in sunglint are wind gusts, naturally occurring oils that will be gathered by and take the form of water currents or wave patterns, and less windy areas behind islands. Photo Credit: NASA


ISS023-E-032400 -- Oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico + View high-resolution
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ISS023-E-032400 (4 May 2010) --- Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, Expedition 23 flight engineer, photographed the Mississippi Delta showing the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico on May 4, 2010. Part of the river delta and nearby Louisiana coast appear dark in the sunglint. This phenomenon is caused by sunlight reflecting off the water surface, in a mirror-like manner, directly back towards the astronaut observer onboard the International Space Station (ISS). The sunglint improves the identification of the oil spill which is creating a different water texture (and therefore a contrast) between the smooth and rougher water of the reflective ocean surface. Other features which cause a change in surface roughness that can be seen in sunglint are wind gusts, naturally occurring oils that will be gathered by and take the form of water currents or wave patterns, and less windy areas behind islands. Photo Credit: NASA


ISS023-E-032397 -- Oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico + View high-resolution
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ISS023-E-032397 (4 May 2010) --- The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 23 crew member on the International Space Station. On April 20, 2010 the oil rig Deepwater Horizon suffered an explosion and sank two days later. Shortly thereafter oil began leaking into the Gulf of Mexico from ruptured pipes as safety cutoff mechanisms failed to operate. Automated nadir-viewing orbital NASA sensors have been tracking the growth of the oil spill as it has spread towards the northern Gulf Coast. This detailed photograph provides a different viewing perspective on the ongoing event. The image is oblique, meaning that it was taken with a sideways viewing angle from the space station, rather than the "straight down" or nadir view typical of automated satellite sensors. The view is towards the west; the ISS was located over the eastern edge of the Gulf of Mexico when the image was taken. The Mississippi River Delta and nearby Louisiana coast (top) appear dark in the sunglint that illuminates most of the image. This phenomenon is caused by sunlight reflecting off the water surface -- much like a mirror -- directly back towards the astronaut observer onboard the orbital complex. The sunglint improves the identification of the oil spill (colored dark to light gray) which is creating a different water texture, and therefore a contrast, between the smooth and rougher water of the reflective ocean surface (colored silver to white). Wind and water current patterns have modified the oil spill's original shape into streamers and elongated masses. Efforts are ongoing to contain the spill and protect fragile coastal ecosystems and habitats such as the Chandeleur Islands (right center). Other features visible in the image include a solid field of low cloud cover at the lower left corner of the image. A part of one of the ISS solar arrays is visible at lower right. Wave patterns at lower right are most likely caused by tidal effects. Photo Credit: NASA