Known as “the biggest little city in the world,” the city of Reno is located in Truckee Meadows, along the eastern foothills of the Sierra Nevada near the California border. It forms part of the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area—the largest such area in northern Nevada, and the second largest in the state after Las Vegas. Lake Tahoe, a major destination for skiing and other outdoor recreational activities, is located less than 50 kilometers (30 miles) to the southwest of Reno-Sparks.
The relatively isolated nature of the city within the surrounding terrain is highlighted in this night time image taken from the International Space Station. The major industrial and commercial areas of both Reno and Sparks are brightly lit at image center. The major street grid is visible as orange linear features adjacent to the industrial/commercial areas. Residential areas appear dark in contrast. The Reno-Tahoe International Airport is visible as a dark, dagger-shaped region in the southeast quarter of the metropolitan area.
At the time this astronaut photograph was taken, the Moon was in a waning gibbous phase (98 percent of a full moon). Moonlight provided enough illumination of the ground so that the topography (accentuated by snow cover) surrounding the Reno-Sparks area is clearly visible following color enhancement.
Astronaut photograph ISS034-E-35548 was acquired on January 28, 2013, with a Nikon D3S digital camera using a 180 millimeter 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 34 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 William L. Stefanov, Jacobs/ESCG at NASA-JSC.