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The Las Vegas Strip: Earth Image of the Week December 24, 2010
Astronaut photo of the Las Vegas Strip.
The “Entertainment Capital of the World” shines more brightly into space than any other location on Earth.
Emerging from the darkness of the Nevada Desert is a cluster of casinos, hotels and a compact but sprawling metropolitan area that is touted to be the home of the brightest place on Earth.

The image to the right of Las Vegas was taken by an astronaut orbiting aboard the International Space Station on November 30, 2010.

Clearly visible is the intensely bright cluster of lights along the Las Vegas Strip, said to be the greatest level of permanent illumination humankind has ever created.

It is in contrast to the relatively dark runways of McCarren International Airport just to the southeast.

The eastern neighborhoods of the city stop abruptly where the slopes of Frenchman Mountain prevent the urban development from extending any farther from the heart of the city.

Approaching Las Vegas at night from the northeast on Interstate Highway 15, drivers are surrounding by the darkness of the desert until they cross a crest just above the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Suddenly, a vast network of lights appears, revealing a bright island of illumination in the middle of an otherwise desolate landscape.

Full story and image: NASA