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Where In The Universe Challenge #84

where in the universe
It’s time once again for another Where In The Universe Challenge. Test your visual knowledge of the cosmos by naming where in the Universe this image was taken and give yourself extra points if you can name the spacecraft responsible for this picture. Post your guesses in the comments section, and check back on later at this same post to find the answer. To make this challenge fun for everyone, please don’t include links or extensive explanations with your answer. Good luck!

UPDATE: The answer has now been posted below.

This is the Atafu Atoll in the Southern Pacific Ocean. The image was taken by an ISS crew member from Expedition 18 crewmember. on the International Space Station. The ring-like shape of the atoll is the result of coral reefs building up around a former volcanic island. Over geologic time, the central volcano has subsided beneath the water surface, leaving the fringing reefs and a central lagoon that contains submerged coral reefs. Erosion and soil development on the surfaces of the exposed fringing reefs has lead to formation of tan to light brown beach deposits (southern and western sides of the atoll) and green vegetation cover (northern and eastern sides of the atoll).

Atafu Atoll is about eight kilometers wide. The primary settlement on Atafu is a village located at the northwestern corner of the atoll — indicated by an area of light gray dots in this photograph. The approximate elevation of Atafu Atoll is only two meters above the tidal high water level. Vulnerability to tropical cyclones and potential sea level rise makes the long-term habitability of the atoll uncertain.

About 

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

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Spoodle58 December 24, 2009, 12:43 PM

    Its probably christmas island :)
    Happy christmas all.

  • Zvezdichko December 24, 2009, 1:32 PM

    Mantangi Island from Fiji Island Group – taken from the ISS.

    Solved by Svetoslav Alexandrov :D

  • Zvezdichko December 24, 2009, 1:33 PM

    Matangi – typo.

  • Zvezdichko December 24, 2009, 1:36 PM

    Third time lucky – I’m really sorry.. I found the link, but it’s actually:

    Atafu atoll

    :D

  • Rob_Bowman December 24, 2009, 2:54 PM

    I think Svetoslav has finally nailed it!

    Merry Christmas everyone, and thanks for all the fun WITUs Nancy!

    Time for a Gin & Tonic I think …

  • BlueAmberol December 24, 2009, 4:01 PM

    Atafu.
    Now why do you mess with passwords? The last one does not work but an old one does.

  • Jorge December 24, 2009, 5:57 PM

    Earth, ISS.

    The Earth is such an oddball! Where else in the known universe are there islands shaped like that?

  • Harishankar Narayanan December 24, 2009, 6:13 PM

    Astronaut photograph ISS018-E-18129 was acquired on January 6, 2009, with a Nikon D2Xs digital camera fitted with an 800 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 18 crew.

  • Vanamonde December 24, 2009, 7:15 PM

    Mmm, i guess “a coral atoll as seen from space” just does not cut.

    Jorge, I would agree with if not for Saturn – spokes in the rings, a braided rings and a fricking hexagonal cloud at the polar!

    Harishankar Narayanan, dude, now you’re just REALLY showing off! Still, which member of Expedition took it?

  • Bink December 24, 2009, 11:47 PM

    Atafu Atoll, ISS018 Astronaut picture.

  • vino December 25, 2009, 1:36 AM

    Surely the place is in Earth…It is beautiful…Wish i can go there for this holiday… :)

  • Elias_Jordan December 25, 2009, 2:18 AM

    Atafu Atoll, Tokelau in the Southern Pacific Ocean

    Here posted is the Pre-Process I believe, and really the processed version looks MUCH better :)

    It made Earth Observatory’s Image of the Day back in April and I believe that’s where Harishankar got his text from :)

    As for the Photographer, is it really possible to find out the exact photographer of the image, as aboard the Station and the Shuttles they do not have assigned cameras, instead the entire crew uses them…

    But we can tell the Time, 20:27:11UTC and the Orbit Number, 2057 :)

  • Feenixx December 25, 2009, 3:45 AM

    I’m quite a keen photographer myself. The lens they used, according to the EXIF info, makes me turn green with envy. It’s twice as long as my own longest lens. I want one for shooting birds!!!

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