Last update: November 22nd, 2019 at 11:00 am
An astronaut aboard the International Space Station shot a near-vertical (nadir) photograph of Nova Scotia with a wide-angle lens. Taken at nearly the same focal length as the human eye, the image (top) allows us to experience Earth as the crew sees it. The second image is simply a tighter crop of the first.
In the photo, the characteristic coastline of the Nova Scotia peninsula (on Canada’s eastern seaboard) is partly separated from the mainland by the Bay of Fundy. The bay experiences the largest tidal fluctuations (16 meters, or 50 feet) in the world. The enormous exchange of water twice a day is stirs up much of the red sediment visible in the headwaters. The bright reflection of sunlight (lower left) shows intersecting tidal features in the sea surface resulting from both the Bay of Fundy tides and those propagating in from the Atlantic Ocean.
In the closeup (second image), timber cuts make linear patterns on the eastern part of the boat-shaped province of Prince Edward Island. Situated in the Gulf of St Lawrence, it is Canada’s smallest and only island province. To the northeast, a long tendril of sea ice streams south from Nova Scotia’s clouded, northernmost cape.
Cities are difficult to see from space in daylight hours. Only Nova Scotia’s capital, Halifax, stands out with any clarity against the dark landscape and sea surface. About 300 kilometers (200 miles) east of Halifax, the sand spit known as Sable Island is a prominent shape well known to astronauts who often take photos of the island. This sweep of sand, 35 kilometers (22 miles) from tip to tip, has only five inhabitants, but receives visits from tourists as one of Canada’s national parks.