August 12, 2014
Dominican Republic and Haiti, Hispaniola, Caribbean are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 40 crew member on the International Space Station. Looking east into a rising sun, the crew took this panorama of Hispaniola with the sun’s glint point illuminating the long western peninsula of Haiti. Several thunderheads throw shadows towards the camera (left). The plume from a very large wildfire stretches west (center). The Constanza Fire started in a national forest on the Dominican Republic growing to the extent that it threatened surrounding towns and prompting an International Disaster Charter activation, whereby requests for imagery were uplinked to the station crew as possible assistance to help firefighters on the ground. Hurricane Bertha tracked over the island a week later helping to douse the flames. The view looks hazy probably because of dust in the atmosphere. Dust blows across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa reaching the western hemisphere every month of the year. Despite the austere tone of the image, touches of color are blue waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands extending from under a large thundercloud (left) and the edge of a space station solar panel (top right).