Stunning photo of Chinese port cities at night taken by astronaut on the International Space Station

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September 12, 2019. (Click on the image for a full view.)

This photograph, taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS), captures the bright city lights of two Chinese port cities. Xiamen and Quanzhou stand out amid an intricate network of roads and railways and the dark waters of the South China Sea.

The interior areas here are mountainous, with less urban development to illuminate the landscape. Small towns and roads zigzag through the valleys. Closer to the coast, several islands and small ports make up one of the busiest port areas in China. Offshore, two bright clusters of pixels are probably ships traveling to or from one of the ports.

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 trade and exchange, Quanzhou remains a major manufacturing center in China.

The photograph of astronaut ISS060-E-60237 was acquired on September 12, 2019 with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a 50 millimeter lens and is provided by the Earth Observation Facility of the crew of the ‘ISS and the Earth Sciences and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by an Expedition 62 crew member. The image has been cropped and enhanced for contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station program is supporting the laboratory as part of the ISS National Laboratory to help astronauts take photos of Earth that will be of greatest value to scientists and the public, and to render those images available free on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at ">Nasa/ JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by Laura Phoebus, Jacobs Technology, JETS contract at NASA-JSC.


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