A wide-angle, nighttime photograph was taken by International Space Station astronauts looking southeastward over the Gulf of Mexico.
The sharp edge of light patterns from coastal cities trace the long curve of the shoreline from New Orleans, at the mouth of the Mississippi River, to Brownsville, Texas, in the westernmost Gulf.
City lights on the horizon—from Florida (left) and Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula (center, near the moon reflection)—hint at the full extent of the Gulf basin.
Other city light patterns in the scene include Mexico City (far right) and the arcing string of the Austin–San Antonio conurbation in central Texas.
In recent years, NASA says a new pattern of lights has appeared on the landscape and revealed the oil- and gas-production zone of south-central Texas. This long, less dense swath of pinpoints spreads across 330 kilometers (210 miles) of what is now known as shale-fracking country.