June 6, 2011
The southern coastline of seldom-seen Iceland can be detected under cloud, top right in this dramatic west-looking view. Iceland's capital city, Reykjavik, lies on the cape that projects furthest left (i.e. southwest) in this view. Along the southeast margin (nearest to the viewer), Iceland's largest icecap, Vatnaj kull, appears as a white mass with a texture different to the spotty cumulus cloud. At the closest point, Greenland only lies 170 miles to the northwest of Iceland -- and under a hand lens, hundreds of miles of the east coast of Greenland can be seen stretching across the top of this view. Taken with the large format Linhof camera, the enormous clarity of the air on this day allowed the crew to photograph Iceland which lies 400 miles and more north of the northernmost point which the Space Shuttle Discovery attained (57.5 degrees north latitude). Greenland lies more than 700 miles from the orbiter. The nature of the light brown feature in the ocean (middle of the view under the tailfin) is unclear. Part is a reflection off the window, but part shows details characteristic of a plankton bloom.
Topics: Island countries, Geography, Europe, Linhof, Reykjavik, Nordic countries, Iceland, Scandinavia, Greenland, western Europe