Great Lakes in Sunglint (NASA, International Space Station, 06/14/12)

Newer Older

The Great Lakes in sunglint are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 31 crew member on the International Space Station. From the vantage point of the space station, crew members observe many spectacular phenomena including aurora, noctilucent clouds, airglow, and sunglint on Earth's water bodies. Sunglint is light reflected off of a water surface towards the observer such that it creates the appearance of a mirror-like surface. If the viewing and lighting conditions are ideal, that mirror-like surface can extend over very large areas, such as the entire surface of Lake Ontario (approximately 18,960 square kilometers). This photograph was taken while the space station was located over a point to the southeast of Nova Scotia (approximately 1,200 kilometers ground distance from the center point of the image). Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, the Finger Lakes of upstate New York, and numerous other bodies of water appear brilliantly lit by sunglint. To the west, Lake Erie is also highlighted by sunglint, but less light is being reflected back towards the observer resulting in a duller appearance. Much of central Canada is obscured by extensive cloud cover in the image, whereas a smaller grouping of clouds obscures the Appalachian range and Pennsylvania (lower left). The blue envelope of Earth's atmosphere is visible above the curved limb, or horizon line that extends across the upper third of the image. Such panoramic views of the planet are readily taken through space station viewing ports with handheld digital cameras which allow the crew to take advantage of the full range of viewing angles.

Image credit: NASA/JSC

Original image:

More about space station research:

There's a Flickr group about Space Station Research. Please feel welcome to join!

View more than 400 photos like this in the "NASA Earth Images" Flickr photoset:

These official NASA photographs are being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photographs. The photographs may not be used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement by NASA. All Images used must be credited. For information on usage rights please visit:

edp, ΞSSΞ®®Ξ, and 218 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 18 more comments

  1. Beckaroonie 33 months ago | reply

    LOL ~ I couldn't help but notice that Binghamton is under clouds......Binghamton is ALWAYS under clouds! (not really, but more often than not)

  2. Chris Devers 33 months ago | reply

    Thanks! I've moved the Chicago tag up to the limb of the earth, and put a Lansing tag where the Chicago one had been.

  3. Dont´comment the same photo 33 months ago | reply

    A most sublime image, an image that
    will remain in our minds forever !
    Seen at Richard's group :
     Richard's group

  4. Lara-queen 33 months ago | reply

    A most sublime image, an image that
    will remain in our minds forever !
    Seen at Richard's group :
     Richard's group

  5. giorgosgrigoriadis16 33 months ago | reply

    wonderful photograph , very beautiful scene !!

  6. tozofoto 32 months ago | reply

    A most sublime image, an image that
    will remain in our minds forever !
    Seen at Richard's group :
     Richard's group

  7. dodagp 32 months ago | reply

    What a spectacular view from up there ! They do enjoy several extraordinary phenomena and see the world from a different perspective.Lucky them !
    Excellent work with the tags of the places !!!

  8. lnairks 29 months ago | reply

    Just great!

  9. JayMilesPhotography 29 months ago | reply

    This is a beautiful example of somewhere, someone or something Canadian!

    Please post it to the I am Canadian group.

  10. JONE VASAITIS 29 months ago | reply

    :))) ... beautiful!

  11. Global Water Forum 5 months ago | reply

    Great photo! Thanks for making it available through Creative Commons. Just letting you know that we have used this photo in an article on our site here:

    We are a UNESCO supported online, open-access resource publishing articles regarding water issues. In the attribution I have included a link to your Flickr homepage. Thanks again.

    Best wishes,

    Chris White
    Managing Editor, Global Water Forum

  12. MARK L FRANKLING 3 months ago | reply


    "Send My Love To Brussels" - Starring James Bond 007 ;-)

    cheers Mark L Frankling
    Bourgogne, France

  13. bbfrmrp 2 months ago | reply

    very nice photo have a great day

keyboard shortcuts: previous photo next photo L view in light box F favorite < scroll film strip left > scroll film strip right ? show all shortcuts