Located just north of the equator (3.85° North, 154.9° East), this classically shaped atoll is part of the Caroline Islands, which stretch northeast of Papua New Guinea in the western Pacific. (The islands are roughly north of Guadalcanal, and southeast of the Guam and Truk Islands.) Nukuoro Atoll is one of 607 islands that make up the Federated States of Micronesia, a United Nations Trust Territory under U.S. administration.
An atoll is a type of low, coral island found in tropical oceans and consisting of a coral-algal reef surrounding a central depression. The depression may be part of the emergent island, but more typically is a part of the sea (that is, a lagoon).
About 900 people live on Nukuoro, whose lagoon is 6 kilometers (about 3.7 miles) in diameter. Fishing, animal husbandry and agriculture (taro and copra) are the main occupations. Nukuoro is remote and has no airstrip; a passenger boat calls irregularly only once a month. The tiny population speaks its own unique language.
This image was taken by the Expedition 13 crew aboard the International Space Station on May 31, 2006.
Image credit: NASA