Lake Skadar in Lens of Astronauts: Photo of the Day at Earth Observatory

By , 03 Jun 2020, 00:17 AM News
Lake Skadar in Lens of Astronauts: Photo of the Day at Earth Observatory Skadar Lake, Source: Earth Observatory, NASA

June 3, 2020 - The astronaut photograph of Lake Skadar in Montenegro and Albania on the last day of May had the status of a photo of the day on the NASA Earth Observatory website, the online publishing outlet for NASA. Lake Skadar caught the attention of astronauts due to the circulation of dark and light sediments around its center, and the photo was taken on February 21.

Created in 1999, the Earth Observatory is the principal source of satellite imagery and other scientific information pertaining to the climate and the environment which are being provided by NASA for consumption by the general public. It is funded with public money, as authorized by the United States Congress, and is part of the EOS Project Science Office located at Goddard Space Flight Center. As of 2006, NASA Earth Observatory has won the Webby People's Voice Award in Education three times. 

Earth Observatory: Lake Skadar, Montenegro and Albania

Astronaut photograph ISS062-E-40353 was acquired on February 21, 2020, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a 400 millimeter lens and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center.

Dark and light sediments swirl around in the center of Lake Skadar (also known as Lake Shkodra), the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula. This pattern captured the attention of an astronaut onboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Lake Skadar is a karst lake that straddles the border of Montenegro and Albania. It is an example of a cryptodepression, where parts of the lakebed extend below sea level. The curved, spine-like ridges running parallel with the southern shore are part of the Dinaric Alps, which are comprised mostly of easily erodible rocks such as limestone, dolomite, and other carbonates.

The swirling plume in the center of the lake is likely the mixing of sediment that has been transported downstream from higher elevations via snow-melt water and other mountain runoff. A major source of this sediment inflow comes from the Moraca River; its wide delta occupies much of the Montenegro shoreline. Smaller river deltas along the northern edges of the lake also contribute sediment. The Drin River and the Bojana River converge just south of the ancient lake-front city of Shkodër, which lies on the small delta of the Kir River. The lake and these rivers all ultimately drain into the Adriatic Sea.

As with many large freshwater lakes near cities, many of the native plants and animals in Lake Skadar became endangered due to human activity. Montenegro has since made the western portion of the lake a national park, and Albania declared its section as a nature reserve. Both efforts were made to protect many species of birds, microorganisms, and aquatic life, including eels, snails, and endemic fish species.

Astronaut photograph ISS062-E-40353 was acquired on February 21, 2020, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a 400 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 62 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 Sara Schmidt, GeoControl Systems, JETS Contract at NASA-JSC.

Source: earthobservatory.nasa.gov

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