Sunglint and Clouds
The setting sun highlights cloud patterns—as well as the Pacific Ocean surface itself—in this photograph taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station. The ISS was located over the Andes Mountains of central Chile at the time.
The camera view is looking back towards the Pacific Ocean as the Sun was setting in the west (towards the upper right). Light from the setting Sun reflects off the water surface and creates a mirror-like appearance, a phenomenon known as sunglint.
Bands of relatively low-altitude cumulus clouds appear like a flotilla of ships, with west-facing sides illuminated by waning sunlight and the rest of the clouds in shadow. Due to the low Sun angle, the clouds cast long and deep shadows over large swaths of the ocean. Given the short camera lens used, an individual cloud shadow may extend for miles.
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