Seen at night, Kuwait City contrasts dramatically with the dark surface of the Persian Gulf and the sparsely populated desert. Night views also show 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 toward the financial center of Kuwait’s capital—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.
The differences in the color of city lighting also provide information on the urban geography. Areas with lighting of a yellow-green tinge are newer residential districts. The town of Al Ahmadi, known for its verdant vegetation, was built in 1946 when oil was discovered; it stands out with a characteristic blue-white light. Kuwait International Airport, like most major airports around the world, 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 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 being prepared for residential construction.
Astronaut photograph ISS032-E-17635 was acquired on August 9, 2012, with a Nikon D3S digital camera using a 400 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 32 crew. It has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by M. Justin Wilkinson, Jacobs/ESCG at NASA-JSC.
The patterns and colors of lighting reveal the urban geography of the capital city.