ISS032-E-17635

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Spacecraft nadir point: 31.2° N, 50.5° E

Photo center point: 29.3° N, 48.0° E

Nadir to Photo Center: Southwest

Spacecraft Altitude: 215 nautical miles (398km)
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Image Caption: Kuwait City at Night

Seen at night Kuwait City, the capital of the small Persian Gulf state of Kuwait, contrasts dramatically with the dark surface of the Persian Gulf (image top) and the very sparsely populated desert area (image bottom). Night views also show at a glance some aspects of urban geography that are difficult to perceive in daylight images. Here the focus of radial traffic arteries and "ring roads" guide the eye to the financial center of the city--on the cape extending into Kuwait Bay north of the First Ring Road. The numbering of the ring roads shows the progressive southward development of the city, towards the Seventh Ring Road which still lies outside the built-up area at image lower right.

The striking differences in color of city lighting also provide information on the urban geography. Areas with lighting of a green tinge are, in each case, newer residential districts. The town of Al Ahmadi (image lower right), known for its verdant vegetation, was built in 1946 when oil was struck and stands out with its characteristic blue night lights. Kuwait International Airport, like most major airports around the globe, is particularly bright due to the high concentration of lights. By contrast, the low residential density of the Emir's palace grounds (which also host the Kuwaiti government offices and a large mosque) stand out as a dark area within the city. The long dark zone facing the Persian Gulf coast, just inshore of a narrow zone of coastal villas (image right), is presently being prepared for residential construction.