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Paris of the South: Buenos Aires Shines at Night March 16, 2012
Astronaut photo of Buenos Aires
The inner part of Buenos Aires is known as the Federal Capital district.
The Argentine capital of Buenos Aires provides perhaps South America’s most striking spectacle at night for astronauts orbiting aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Nicknamed the “Paris of the South,” the city of nearly 3 million people is surrounded on three sides by a sprawling metropolitan area that includes an additional 10 million inhabitants.

At night, highways and neighborhoods appear as patterns of light that highlight how humans live and travel in the region.

The dark stretch at the top of the image, taken from the ISS, is the Rio Plate, which is the greatest estuary of the Atlantic Ocean.

It also separates Buenos Aires from the country of Uruguay, about 30 miles to the northeast.

The brightest portion of the image is the old part of the capital, centered on the maritime port and the presidential palace, known as the Casa Rosada.

The world’s widest city thoroughfare can be seen there with four major roads running in parallel. Avenida 9 de Julio is separated by grassy corridors and is the brightest line in the downtown cluster. It appears as the longest north-south strip just inland of the port.

Four major highways can be seen diverging from the city center. These highways may be more visible due to the well-known late-night traffic of weekend Buenos Aires.

The large dark patch in the left of the image is the 20,000-acre Campo de Mayo, one of Argentina’s most important military bases.

Image: NASA