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Photo-iss036e010628
International Space Station Imagery
Strait of Tiran, Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba
high res (0.8 M) low res (68 K)
ISS036-E-010628 (24 June 2013) --- Strait of Tiran, Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 36 crew member on the International Space Station. The approximately six-kilometer wide Strait of Tiran (also known as the Straits of Tiran) between the Egyptian mainland and Tiran Island separates the Gulf of Aqaba from the Red Sea, and provides two channels (290 meters and 73 meters deep, respectively) navigable by large ships bound for ports in Jordan and Israel. A smaller passage also exists between the east side of Tiran Island and Saudi Arabia, but this a single channel that is 16 meters deep. Due to its strategic position, control of the Strait has been an important factor in historical conflicts of the region, such as the Suez Crisis in 1956 and the Six-Day War in 1967. This photograph illustrates the morphology of the Strait. The relatively clear, deep-water passages of the western Strait of Tiran are visible at right, while the more sinuous shallow-water passage on the Saudi Arabia side can be seen at bottom center. Light blue to turquoise areas around Tiran Island indicate shallow water, while the island itself is arid and largely free of vegetation. Coral reefs are also found in the Straits of Tiran and are a popular diving destination. The silvery sheen on the water surface within the Strait and the south of Tiran Island is sunglint -- light reflecting off the water surface back towards the observer on the space station. Disturbance to the water surface, as well as presence of substances such as oils and surfactants, can change the reflective properties of the water surface and highlight both surface waves and subsurface currents. For example, a large wave set is highlighted by sunglint at upper left.

Curator: JSC PAO Web Team | Responsible NASA Official: Amiko Kauderer | Updated: 08/05/2013
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