Gemini Earth Photographs

Oceanography

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The contrast between deep water (deep blue), shallow water (light blue), and small island reefs is dramatically seen in this view of the Bahamas. The deep blue circular area to the lower left is known as the Tongue of the Ocean. An underwater escarpment drops more than 1.5 kilometers to the floor of this unique area. The deep blue ellipse to the right center is Exuma Sound, equally deep. Close inspection will show that numerous islands and cays fringe much of Exuma Sound. On 12 October 1492, Christopher Columbus and 88 men first touched the New World at San Salvador Island (right center edge). (S65-45760; Gemini V.)
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From 300 kilometers above the Earth, a wide-angle view of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast shows almost 600 kilometers of shoreline between Aransas Bay and Vermilion Bay. The movement and distribution of waterborne sediments and pollutants are clearly visible over a wide area of the Gulf of Mexico. Regional land use can be easily delineated into such categories as forests, agricultural, grazing, wetlands, coastlines; lakes and reservoirs, and urban areas. This photo had the unique distinction of being the first space photo used in a legal case resulting in the elimination of a source of water pollution. (S66-34034; Gemini XII.)
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The south half of the island of Taiwan is clearly seen. The Formosa Strait is to the left. Coastal currents can be located and charted in the Pacific Ocean, Luzon Strait, South China Sea, and Formosa Strait. (S66-45868; Gemini X.)
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From the high vantage point of an orbiting spacecraft, one can see the bottom of the sea in many areas. The Florida Keys create a 200-kilometer-long arc from Biscayne Bay to Key West. Boat wakes are easily seen in the sun glint. The Everglades National Park is in the upper right. Florida Bay, dotted with numerous small islands, separates Cape Sable and Ponce de Leon Bay from the highway-connected Keys. The Gulf Stream flows northeastward in the lower portion of the photograph. The oceanographer has increased his knowledge of the seas by the use of space photography. (S65-34766; Gemini IV.)


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