International Space Station Photo ISS006-E-18372

Following are enhanced versions of International Space Station photograph ISS006-E-18372.

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Photo Credits: All original photos credit Image Science and Analysis Laboratory/NASA-Johnson Space Center. All enhanced photos credit Image Science and Analysis Laboratory/NASA-Johnson Space Center/GoneToPlaid.
Abbreviated Photo Credits: Original photos credit NASA/ISD/JSC. All enhanced photos credit NASA/ISD/JSC/GoneToPlaid

Image ISS006-E-18372

Image Data:

What do auroras look like from space? From the ground, auroras dance high above clouds, frequently causing spectacular displays. The International Space Station (ISS) orbits just at the same height as many auroras, though. Therefore, sometimes it flies over them, but also sometimes it flies right through. The auroral electron and proton streams are too thin to be a danger to the ISS, just as clouds pose little danger to airplanes. ISS Science Officer Don Pettit captured a green aurora, pictured above in a digitally sharpened image. From orbit, Dr. Pettit reports, changing auroras can appear to crawl around like giant green amoebas. Far below, on planet Earth, the Manicouagan Impact Crater can be seen in northern Canada.
Mission: ISS006 Roll: E Frame: 18372 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS006
Country or Geographic Name: CANADA-Q
Center Point Latitude: 50.5 Center Point Longitude: -69.5 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Stereo: (Yes indicates there is an adjacent picture of the same area)
Camera Tilt: High Oblique
Camera Focal Length: 58mm
Camera: N1: Nikon D1
Film: 2000E : 2000 x 1312 pixel CCD, RGBG imager color filter.
Film Exposure: (not available)
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 25 (11-25)
Date: 20030118 (YYYYMMDD)GMT Time: 074040 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 46.5, Longitude: -55.5 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: West
Sun Azimuth: 81 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 206 nautical miles (382 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: -37 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 3762
The original image.
The first image processing step is to apply a salt and pepper filter in order to remove all of the cosmic ray hits onto the Nikon D1 camera's CCD sensor.
Next, the image is deconvolved, using the Lucy-Richardson image deconvolution method, in order to sharpen all of the actual stars and in order to reveal the fainter stars which are nearly buried by the background noise of the image.
Next, the image is rotated 180° so that north on the earth is located on a bearing which is oriented in some direction towards the top side of the image. After all, we know that aurora start at the earth's poles and extend downward towards more temperate latitudes if the solar storm is particularly strong.
Next, we apply a FFT transform to the image and then clean up the FFT in order to reduce the faint slanted noise pattern, visible in the above image, which is created when the Nikon D1 reads out its CCD sensor. Note that only moderate FFT cleanup is performed since we do not want to accidentally destroy any faint stars.
The final image, cleaned up and enhanced a bit for visual presentation and in order to more clearly show the star field that was actually recorded in the original image.
The final image above, but further enhanced, which should allow one to identify the actual star field.
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