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A Nighttime Mystery Over the Biggest Cities in Texas

See if you can spot all the different light sources in this International Space Station image.
relates to A Nighttime Mystery Over the Biggest Cities in Texas
NASA/ISS

There are at least three radically different sources of light in the above photograph of Texas' major cities, shot on June 17 by a crew member aboard the International Space Station. Take a second to orient yourself – the large yellow blotch at the bottom is Houston, and the almost equally sized glow-blob north of that is Dallas/Fort Worth – and see if you can detect them.

It might be hard to distinguish with the colossal distances involved (Houston to Dallas is about 230 miles as the buzzard flies). The most obvious light producers in this photo are the cities, including the four largest in the state; follow the yellow highway west from Dallas/Fort Worth, and it cuts through the glimmering photon-oases of Austin and then San Antonio. Street lamps and building lights make these burgs flare like campfires in the middle of a black desert, with the slight fuzziness above Dallas/Fort Worth coming from a layer of migrant clouds.