National Geographic : 2001 Oct
Armored technician Chuck Searcy, Jr., handles one of 39 vol atile 7,000-watt xenon lamps atop the Luxor pyramid on the Las Vegas Strip. Touted as the world's brightest light, the Sky Beam is strong enough to read a book by-ten miles out in space. Under high pressure, xenon, a gas, emits a white, sunlike light when an electric current is applied to it. The gaudy radiance of the Strip comes mostly from the gas neon. First used in a light in 1910, neon had revolutionized advertis ing displays by the mid 20th century.