Earth  ID: 31118

Lighting Paths to Oil in Qatar

In this photograph, taken from the ISS on October 13, 2012, the nightlights of Qatar show informative demographic detail that is very difficult to discern in daylight images—especially in deserts, where even large cities can be hard to see. The brightest group of lights at image center is the capital city, Doha, with the neighboring smaller ports of Ad-Dahirah and Umm Sa’id to the north and south. (Note that north is to the left in this image, due to the path of the ISS orbit.) Highways are clearly visible leading west from the capital to the Dukhan oil fields, to Saudi Arabia, and to the north of the country where—judging by the lack of nightlights—the population is probably very low. The relatively minor coastal road between the oil fields and the Saudi frontier also stands out.

Almost the entire island nation of Bahrain appears at lower left, with the capital city of Manama nearly as bright as the lights of Doha. The difference in light intensity reflects a difference in population: Doha has 1.45 million inhabitants, while the dense Manama metropolitan area has a population of 1.2 million. The thumb-shaped Qatari peninsula, so well-known in Middle Eastern geography, does not show up at all in this nighttime photograph.

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SVS >> Night lights
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Human Dimensions >> Population
GCMD >> Location >> Qatar
SVS >> Hyperwall
SVS >> Astronaut
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version