December 20, 2013
(19 June 2012) --- Al Jubayl, Saudi Arabia at night is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 31 crew member on the International Space Station. The city of Al Jubayl (or Jubail) is located on the Saudi Arabian coastline of the Persian Gulf. The city has a history extending back more than 7,000 years, but since 1975 it has been associated with the heavy industries of petrochemical refining and production, fertilizer production and steel works. At night, these industrial areas form a brightly lit region (center) to the south of the residential and commercial center of Al Jubayl (characterized by green-gray lighting). An artificial peninsula extending into the Persian Gulf to the northeast hosts supertanker docks and petroleum storage facilities. The Persian Gulf to the north and northeast is devoid of lights; likewise, the open desert to the south-southeast provides a stark contrast to the well-lit urban and industrial areas. A bright circle of light located within the heavy industrial area (center) cannot be resolved in this photograph, but is likely a concentration of lights associated with ongoing processing or construction activities. The approximate scale of the feature -- hundreds of meters in diameter -- is consistent with multiple stationary light sources, particularly if the light from those sources is accentuated due to the camera's low light settings.
Topics: Persian Gulf, Western Asia, Asia, Environment, Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia, Jubail, Al Jubayl