Multicolored Waters of the Bahamas

Mar 27, 2018 | Citizen Science, Image Detective

This is a guest post from Andrea Meado, Image Data Scientist, and part of our Johnson Space Center (JSC) Image Detective Science Team

Astronaut Photograph ISS050-E-66825 (top), 50mm lens, taken on April 4, 2017 is of Andros Island in the Bahamas. Astronaut Photograph ISS051-E-32934 (bottom), 380mm lens, taken on May 2, 2017 is a zoomed in view of the southern part of Andros Island. Credit: NASA

The astronaut photos above are of Andros Island in the Bahamas. The waters surrounding the island appear to be various shades of blue as seen from space. These color changes are due to variations in water depth and sediments suspended in the water. As seen in the top photo, there are stark color differences between shallow waters surrounding the island and deeper waters nearby. The shallow waters around Andros Island are 10s of meters deep, while the deeper waters can quickly drop to over 1000m deep.

Another reason for variable water colors here is due to sediments in the waters. These sediments are made of carbonate minerals and make up the islands in the Bahamas as well. Astronaut photos like these of the Bahamas and other islands around the world need exact center locations cataloged to enhance NASA’s Astronaut Photography of Earth collections. Using distinctive features such as dramatic water colors and island morphology can help Citizen Scientists using CosmoQuest’s Image Detective 2.0 tool find the center point location of astronaut photos.

NASA’s publically accessible Astronaut Photography of Earth database is made available through the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth website curated by the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit at the Johnson Space Center and houses over 2 million images taken by astronauts from space.

Go to CosmoQuest’s Image Detective 2.0 to identify the center point of astronaut photographs such as the images above, and advance scientific research by enhancing NASA’s Astronaut Photography of Earth database!


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