ISS060-E-60237

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Spacecraft nadir point: 20.3° N, 115.0° E

Photo center point: 24.6° N, 118.6° E

Nadir to Photo Center: Northeast

Spacecraft Altitude: 220 nautical miles (407km)
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Image Caption: Xiamen and Quanzhou

This photograph, taken by an astronaut from the International Space Station (ISS), captures the bright urban lights of two Chinese port cities. Xiamen and Quanzhou stand out amidst a complex network of roads and railways and the night-darkened waters of the South China Sea.

Inland areas are mountainous here, with less urban development to illuminate the landscape. Smaller towns and roads zig-zag through the valleys. Closer to the coast, several islands and small harbors make up one of China's most highly trafficked port regions. Offshore, two bright clusters of pixels are likely ships traveling to or from one of the harbors.

The ancient city of Quanzhou was once one of the most important ports along the Maritime Silk Road. Beyond its role as a major center of commerce and trade, Quanzhou remains a major manufacturing center in China.