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Sunrise over the Philippine Sea

Sunrise over the Philippine Sea

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) took this photograph of the partial disc of the Sun just as it began to rise, creating a sheet of light across the horizon. Silhouetted clouds give the sense of a jumbled mountain range. Numerous individual layers of the atmosphere appear above the Sun from this perspective.

The photo was taken when the ISS was located over the coast of Vietnam. But as seen from about 400 kilometers (250 miles) above the surface of the Earth, the sunrise was actually rising over the Philippine Sea, far to the east of the Philippine archipelago.

Astronauts see sixteen sunrises every 24 hours. While it is never a good idea to look at the Sun directly without proper eye protection (either on Earth or from space), digital camera images such as this allow us the luxury of seeing this spectacle as the astronauts do.

Astronaut photograph ISS052-E-20541 was acquired on July 26, 2017, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using a 500 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 52 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by Justin Wilkinson, Texas State University, JETS Contract at NASA-JSC.