This Week’s “Where In The Universe” Challenge

by Nancy Atkinson on July 23, 2008

It’s Wednesday, so that means its time for another “Where In The Universe” challenge to test your visual knowledge of the cosmos. Guess the location of this image, and give yourself extra points if you can name the spacecraft responsible for the photo. Remember, you have 8 planets, 169 known moons, a handful of dwarf planets (there’s a new one!) and lots of asteroids in our solar system to choose from. We’re also up to over 300 known exoplanets now; however we don’t have the capability to image them quite yet, so you can cross them off your potential answer list. Don’t cheat — make your guess before you look below…

On October 13, 2000, the Expedition 3 crew of the International Space Station, took this interesting photo of the Brahmaputra River in Tibet. This river carves a narrow west-east valley between the Tibetan Plateau to the north and the Himalaya Mountains to the south, as it rushes eastward for more than 1,500 km in southwestern China. The 15-km stretch shown here is about 35 km south of the ancient Tibetan capital of Lhasa. As you can see the river flow becomes intricately braided as it works and reworks its way through extensive deposits of erosional material. This pattern indicates a combination heavy sediment discharge from tributaries and reduction of the river’s flow from either a change in gradient or perhaps even climate conditions over the watershed. The area is also known for strong, persistent westerly winds which also shapes the region.

Photos such as this one bring immediate visual understanding and appreciation of natural processes in some of the most remote locations on Earth.

How did you do?

More info on this image.


Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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