Tropical atoll seen from orbit

Ebon Atoll seen from space

Tiny, delicate Ebon Atoll lies deep in the Pacific in the Marshall Islands chain.

EBON ATOLL IS A CORAL ATOLL of 22 islands in the Pacific Ocean that is part of the Marshall Islands, located about 1000 km to the north east of the Solomon Islands (04° 38′ N 168° 43’E).

Forming a legislative district of the Ralik Chain of the Marshalls, its total land area is only 5.75 square kilometres, but it encloses a deep lagoon with an area of 104 square kilometres. A passage leads to the lagoon from the southwest edge of the atoll. The winding passage is called Ebon Channel.

Ebon Atoll is located approximately 155 kilometres (96 mi) south of Jaluit, and is the southern most landmass of the Marshall Islands as it is on the southern extremity of the Ralik Chain.

Ebon Atoll was a centre for commercial whaling in the 19th century, as well as European missionary activities from 1857. It was claimed by the Empire of Germany along with the rest of the Marshall Islands in 1884, and the Germans established a trading outpost.

After World War I, the island came under the South Pacific Mandate of the Empire of Japan. Following the end of World War II, it came under the control of the United States as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands until the independence of the Marshall Islands in 1986.

This photo was taken on 12 February 2011 by European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli who is currently serving as a member of the six-strong Expedition 26 crew on the International Space Station.

Adapted from information issued by ESA and Wikipedia (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/).

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