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Holiday calendar: Riyadh at night

NASA / JSC

The city lights of Riyadh shine in a picture taken Nov. 13 from the International Space Station.


Saudi Arabia's capital city glitters in this picture-perfect night view captured from Earth orbit last month from the International Space Station. The spread of Riyadh's city lights hints at a bustling population, which has grown from 150,000 in 1960 to 5.4 million this year. Click on over to NASA's Earth Observatory to identify landmarks such as the Riyadh Air Base, universities and the financial district.

This view from above is tonight's offering for the Cosmic Log Space Advent Calendar, which serves up a fresh picture of Earth as seen from space every day from now until Christmas. For still more outer-space goodies, check out The Atlantic's Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar or the Zooniverse Advent Calendar — and stay tuned for another cosmic nighttime vista on Wednesday.

More views of Earth from space:


Alan Boyle is NBCNews.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. To keep up with Cosmic Log as well as NBCNews.com's other science and space news coverage, sign up for the Tech & Science newsletter, delivered via email. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.