This dreamy illustration of a zebrafish embryo happens to be attached to some cool research. The compilation photo reflects a centuries-old observation…Read More »
that during a certain point in a vertebrate embryo's development, the embryo will look just like embryos of other vertebrates. The concept is known as the "developmental hourglass." Embryos look alike in the middle of development, but early and late in development, the embryos' appearances diverge, just as an hourglass flares out from its narrow "waist." Less «
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'Fairy' Insect Wings
Credit: E. Shevtsova/J. Kjaerandsen
A female Closterocerus coffeellae, a wasp collected in Colombia, looks drab against a white background and shines against black. Researchers at Lund University…Read More »
in Sweden have discovered that the insect species – hymenoptera wasps and diptera flies – they've been studying for decades reflect light off their wings in rainbow-like patterns. The effect is a bit like oil on water, but these patterns are permanent, suggesting they may play a role in insect communication. The wings of the flies and wasps are transparent, but they reflect about 20 percent of the light that hits them, the researchers found. It's this light that creates the shining patterns, just like a thin film of soap or oil on water creates a rainbow-colored glare. Less «
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Credit: Shin-ichi Uye
Nemopilema nomurai, known as Nomura's jellyfish, can grow up to 6.6 feet (2 meters) in diameter. It is edible, though it hasn't caught on widely. When…Read More »
Nomura's jellyfish bloomed in 2005, some Japanese coped by selling souvenir cookies flavored with jellyfish powder, according to the New York Times. Less «
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This hemispheric view of Venus was created using more than a decade of radar investigations culminating in the 1990-1994 Magellan mission, and is centered…Read More »
on the planet's North Pole. The Magellan spacecraft imaged more than 98 percent of Venus and a mosaic of the Magellan images forms the image base. Gaps in the Magellan coverage were filled with images from the Earth-based Arecibo radar in a region centered roughly on 0 degree latitude and longitude, and with a neutral tone elsewhere (primarily near the South Pole). This composite image is color-coded to show elevation. Less «
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Love in the Time of Giardia
Credit: CDC/ Dr. Stan Erlandsen
Is it love or a diarrheal parasite? In this Valentine's-appropriate image, it's the parasite. Caught on scanning electron microscope in the midst of dividing…Read More »
into two separate organisms, this Giardia lamblla parasite forms a heart, flagella untwining as the two new protozoa prepare to go their separate ways. When ingested by humans (usually through drinking contaminated water), Giardia protozoa cause a diarrheal disease called giardiasis. Less «
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Ball of Color
Credit: Spike Walker
This photomicrograph shows the ruby-tailed wasp called Chrysis ignita, which is the most commonly observed of this species. The abdomen's is coloring --…Read More »
ruby red and bronze – give the wasp its name. The underside of the abdomen is also concave, which allows the wasp to roll itself into a protective ball if threatened. Ruby-tailed wasps are "parasitoids," meaning they eventually kill their hosts. Chrysis ignita parasitizes mason bees: The females lay their eggs in the same nest as mason bees, so when the ruby-tailed wasp larvae hatch, they feed on the mason bee larvae. Ruby-tailed wasps do have a sting but it is not functional and most species have no venom.
The fantastical image snagged a spot on the Wellcome Image Awards 2011, which chooses the most striking and technically excellent images acquired by the Wellcome Images picture library in the prior 18 months. Less «
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Nicaragua from Above
As the shuttle and the space station began their post-undocking relative separation, Expedition 23 flight engineer Soichi Noguchi photographed the underside…Read More »
of the shuttle over the south end of Isla de Providencia, about 150 miles off the coast of Nicaragua. Undocking of the two spacecraft occurred on April 17, 2010, ending the shuttle's 10-day stay. The visit included three spacewalks and delivery of more than seven tons of equipment and supplies to the station. Less «
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Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
The 8.9-magnitude (which may have been upgraded to a 9.0) earthquake that struck Japan triggered tsunamis across the region. Here, results from a computer…Read More »
model run by the Center for Tsunami Research at the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory show the expected wave heights of the tsunami as it travels across the Pacific basin.
The largest wave heights are expected near the earthquake epicenter, off the coast of Sendai, Honshu, Japan. The wave will decrease in height as it travels across the deep Pacific but grow taller as it nears coastal areas. In general, as the energy of the wave decreases with distance, the near-shore heights will also decrease. For example, coastal Hawaii will not expect heights of that encountered in coastal Japan, according to NOAA.
Credit: Keith Vanderlinde, National Science Foundation
This 2008 image, taken in Antarctica, capture's Earth's atmosphere in a St. Paddy's Day mood. Aurora australis, the southern lights, are caused by solar…Read More »
wind passing through the upper atmosphere. The southern lights are seen less often than aurora borealis, the northern lights, because few people brave Antarctica's dark, freezing winters. In the summer, when research scientists descend on the continent, almost-constant daylight overpowers the atmospheric display. Less «
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Credit: Diane Chakos/Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.
The moon over an iceberg in the Weddell sea of Antarctica.
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Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)
Ceraunius Tholus and Uranius Tholus, two Martian volcanoes, take on unearthly hues in this elevation model made with images captured by the European Space…Read More »
Agency's Mars Express spacecraft. The larger volcano, Ceraunius Tholus, rises 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) above its surroundings. Less «
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Penguin Pomp: Birds of a Feather
Credit: Todd Stailey, Tennessee Aquarium
A flock of gentoo penguins at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga puts on a show. At heights of almost 3 feet (1 meter), gentoos are the third-largest…Read More »
penguin species in the world. Gentoos build nests out of round, smooth stones, which are highly prized by females. To curry favor with a potential mate, male gentoos sometimes present "gifts" of these coveted rocks. Less «
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In a (Green) Flash
Credit: Nigella Hillgarth
As the sun sinks into the Pacific, its last light seems to glow green. This "green flash," caused by light refracting in the atmosphere, is rarely seen.…Read More »
But Nigella Hillgarth, the director of the Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, got lucky one night.
"I often work late and have developed the habit of taking photos of the incredible sunsets over the Pacific from the Aquarium," Hillgarth told LiveScience. "One evening, I was snapping away and caught the green flash as it appeared. I was hoping for a green flash, but was very excited when one actually happened and I caught it!"
The satanic leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus) is the smallest of 12 species of bizarre-looking leaf-tailed geckos. The nocturnal creature has…Read More »
extremely cryptic camouflage so it can hide out in forests in Madagascar. This group of geckos is found only in primary, undisturbed forests, so their populations are very sensitive to habitat destruction. Large Uroplatus species have more teeth than any other living terrestrial vertebrate species.
The gecko species was discovered in Mantadia-Zahamena corridor of Madagascar in 1998 during one of the Conservation International (CI) "Rapid Assessment Program" (RAP) surveys. The animal snagged a spot on CI's "Top 20" list of animals discovered during these expeditions, which began 20 years ago today, April 14, 2011.
Here a close-up shot of a loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) in the Gulf of Mexico's Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, which is about…Read More »
100 miles (179 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast. Two new studies are showing the turtles are being contaminated with so-called persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which include banned substances such as DDT and toxaphenes, once used as pesticides; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), once used as insulating fluids; and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), once used as flame retardants.
The studies showed the turtles accumulate more of the contaminant chemicals the farther they travel up the Atlantic coast, suggesting their northern feeding grounds in Florida have higher POP levels. The turtles likely consume the POPs when they eat contaminated prey such as crabs, the researchers said. One of the studies was published online April 20, 2011 in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, and the other will be published in a forthcoming issue of that journal.
It's not hard to imagine where these moon jellies got their name. As delicate as they look, jellies are tough: They've been around for 600 million years,…Read More »
predating sharks and surviving multiple mass extinctions, including the one that killed the dinosaurs.
What makes jellies such survivors? Unlike fish, they're able to absorb oxygen directly through their bodies, storing it in their tissues so they can hunt in deep waters. Baby jellies can develop from swimming larvae directly into adults, but they often settle down and turn into polyps. Polyps can go dormant if conditions get bad, survive months without food, and even clone themselves. Less «
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Credit: CREDIT: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
If you think gestating one baby is tough, try 3,000. The squid Gonatus onyx carries around her brood of 2,000 to 3,000 eggs for up to nine months. The…Read More »
squid moms have their arms full: While carrying their eggs, they're stuck swimming with their fins and mantle instead of their much more effective arms.
So why would G. onyx take such care of its thousands of offspring? According to a 2005 study published in the journal Nature, the squid carry their eggs to deep water, where predators are rare. The deep-sea offspring are also larger and more capable of survival than shallow water squid -- thanks, mom! Less «
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Snow-White Penguin Chick
Credit: Gerald L. Kooyman, Scripps Institution of Oceanography/UC San Diego.
Not all emperor penguins sport black-and-white tuxedoes. Scripps reseacher Gerald Kooyman spotted this unique all-white emperor chick, dubbed Snowflake,…Read More »
during a penguin survey on the ice shelf of the Ross Sea, Antarctica, in December 1997.
Its white feathers blended in so well with the icy background that Kooyman said he almost missed the chick – emperor penguin chicks are usually covered in a grayish down coat, with dark tail feathers and dark bills and feet.
Scientists don't think Snowflake is an albino, however, as it didn't have the characteristic pink eyes associated with albinism. [Here's a Scripps video of Snowflake]
NASA's space shuttle Endeavour blasted into the sky Monday at 8:56 a.m. EDT (1256 GMT) from the Kennedy Space Center's seaside Launch Pad 39A…Read More »
in Cape Canaveral, Fla., for its final mission. The six-person crew, led by Mark Kelly, will deliver spare supplies and an ambitious astrophysics experiment to the International Space Station. The mission is planned to last 16 days. [Photos: Shuttle Endeavour's Final Mission]
For continued coverage of Endeavor's 25th mission, go to SPACE.com.
Take a minute to oooh and aaah. In this composite photograph, the northern lights, or aurora, reflect off Jökulsárlón, a glacial lake in Iceland. Photographer…Read More »
Stephane Vetter stitched together six photographs to make this image, which reveals the band of the Milky Way galaxy, the Pleiades star cluster and the Andromeda Galaxy in the night sky. The photo took first place in 2011's Second International Earth and Sky Photo Contest.
Credit: Credit: Ben Canales. Courtesy of TWAN (www.twanight.org).
"Lights From the Hidden City" by Ben Canales (www.thestartrail.com). This photograph won fifth place in the Against the Lights category of the International…Read More »
Earth and Sky Photo Contest, run by The World at Night (TWAN). Light pollution reflects in winter cloud cover. The source of the apocalyptic glow is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) away -- the city of Portland, Oregon. Less «
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Credit: Jóhann Ingi Jónsson
Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano erupts on May 22, 2011.
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The Space Shuttle Endeavour is docked with the International Space Station one last time in this May 28, 2011 photograph. Below, city lights brighten the…Read More »
night side of Earth. The STS-134 astronauts left the station the next day on May 29, and they are scheduled to land in Florida on Wednesday, June 1. Less «
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What Big Paws You Have
Credit: Captain Budd Christman, NOAA Corps
A researcher examines the paws of a sedated polar bear in this 1982 photograph taken in Alaska. Polar bears' giant paw pads help them keep traction on ice and snow.
The emerald tree boa, which is found in the Amazon basin, is equipped with highly sensitive heat-sensing organs that it uses for 3-D thermal imaging of…Read More »
their prey. Its color pattern and the way the tree boa drapes itself over branches are similar to the green tree python from Australia and New Guinea. Less «
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Credit: Jonathan Gourley , NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.
Looks like these chasers have found their storm. Lightning crackles behind a stormchase vehicle in Enid, Okla. In 2009 and 2010, an armada of researchers…Read More »
in fully equipped vehicles (including this one) descended on the Great Plains, following the weather.
The project, VORTEX2, has one major goal: Tornado forecasting. Right now, residents in stormy areas usually have only 13 minutes to seek cover from a twister, and 70 percent of alarms are false. Understanding how and when tornados form is a major goal for meteorologists trying to give people on the ground more warning about these deadly winds.
Venus sparkles like a diamond over the Rio de la Plata near Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Rio de la Plata is an estuary of the Parana and Uruguay Rivers.…Read More »
It's so large (125 miles, or 200 kilometers from shore to shore) that some geologists consider the Rio de la Plata to be not a river mouth, but a marginal sea. The lights of Buenos Aires are visible in the far right of this May 28, 2011 photo.
Credit: Aoife Roche, PhD, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Nope. This is inner space.
The space between cells is a freeway when you're a Staphylococcus bacterium. A tight barrier of cells is supposed to prevent…Read More »
outside invaders like these Staph bugs (red and purple) from entering the body. The fact that we get sick is testimony that those barriers sometimes fail. Now, University of Pennsylvania researchers have found one reason why: Some pathogenic bugs have the key that opens secret passages in this cellular wall.
The surface cells in the respiratory system (shown here in blue) let their guard down when they come in contact with certain pathogen molecules. These molecules trigger the respiratory cells to stop producing proteins that keep the junctions between cells tight. Once that happens, it's no problem for the tiny, deadly microbes to breeze through like they own the place.
Credit: Annett Junginger Junginger. Distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons license.
This may be as relaxing as it gets. Various shades of blue come to life in this view of Pukaki, a glacial lake in New Zealand. The alpine lake, which sits…Read More »
alongside Lakes Tekapo and Ohau, was carved out long ago by glaciers. Its striking blue color comes from the finely ground rock particles — called glacial flour — from the glaciers that now feed it. Less «
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Credit: Australian War Memorial
This ringtail possum has the camera, so who's going to provide the action? Taken in 1943 somewhere in northern Australia, this photo is part of the Australian…Read More »
War Memorial collection. The possum, someone's pet, apparently became interested in a Department of Information movie camera and assumed the director's position. Normally, ringtail possums live a less artistic life in dense, brushy forests. Like the more-famous koalas that share their Aussie home, ringtail possums are eucalyptus-loving marsupials.
Credit: Courtneidge lab, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
The spread of cancer from one its initial outpost to someplace else in the body, called metastasis, is the most common reason cancer treatments fail. Some…Read More »
cancer cells rely on microscopic "feet" called invadopodia, which are projections on the cellular membrane that help the cells "walk" to surrounding tissues. Now researchers are reporting online in the July 26, 2011, issue of the journal Science Signaling that they have identified compounds that inhibit invadopodia formation without causing toxicity. The team also found a number of compounds that increased a cancer cell's invadopodia.
Here, invadopodia (bright red dots) form on metastatic cancer cells.
What are you going to be for Halloween? These two galaxies have joined forces to masquerade as two spooky eyes floating in space.
Galaxies NGC 2207 and…Read More »
IC 2163 met and began a slow gravitational merge about 40 million years ago. This false-color image of the galaxies shows their cores in blue-green and their spiral arms in bright red. Eventually, the two galaxies will become one. Less «
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Credit: Image courtesy of Christopher J. Brown
Even though the oceans tend to warm slower than the land, researchers report in the Nov. 4 issue of the journal Science that similar movement rates are…Read More »
needed for organisms to stay ahead of climate change on land and in the oceans.
After analyzing 50 years of global temperature and climate data, Michael Burrows of the Scottish Marine Institute in Argyll and his colleagues found that the speed and direction of climate change, along with the arrival time of various seasons, is happening just as fast in the oceans as on land. The research team says that this climate-change velocity and seasonal shifts can be used to predict shifts in habitat ranges and life-cycle changes in a warming world.
For instance, organisms like these marine sea slugs and even elephant seals (shown here in bull kelp in the Southern Ocean) must adapt to new temperatures or move to new areas to stay in an optimal habitat. Less «
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Credit: Cyril Simon Wedlund, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons license.
The brilliant Northern Lights fill the sky above a radar dish in Svalbard, Norway, on a crisp December night (temperatures dipped to minus 4 degrees F,…Read More »
or minus 20 degrees C) in 2006 when Cyril Simon Wedlund captured this image. Scientists were in the process of taking measurements using the European Incoherent Scatter Svalbard Radar to learn more about the aurora and the ionosphere. "This aurora was very dynamic and one of the most beautiful that we watched during this period of waning solar activity," writes Wedlund. [See more images of the Northern Lights] Less «
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Jellies In Leopard-Print
Credit: Matt Gove, National Ocean Service
These leopard-spotted jellies are appropriately decorated, considering they're terrifying predators — if you're a plankton. This species, Mastigias…Read More »
papua is known as the spotted jelly or the lagoon jelly. They live in coastal waters in the South Pacific and grow about 5.5 inches (14 to 16 centimeters) in diameter.
But what makes spotted jellies really cool is that they grow their own gardens. The jellies get their greenish-brown tinge from algae that they harbor. The algae is a handy food source for the jellies. Some of the larger individuals will even keep extra hangers-on: Little minnows that live inside the jellyfish's bell until they're large enough to face the wider ocean.
Jellyfish facts courtesy the Monterey Bay AquariumLess «
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See Summer From the "Snow Caves"
Credit: Zach Clothier/U.S. Department of the Interior
Summer can be seen at the end of winter's long tunnel at Glacier National Park in Montana.
Love to hike? Glacier is your place for summer backcountry adventures.…Read More »
With over 700 miles (1,127 kilometers) of trails, hikers will find a wilderness of forests, alpine meadows, mountains and beautiful lakes.
For those not ready to leave winter behind, there's the solitude of snow caves. Caves such as the one shown in the above image often form when meltwater runs under the ice of a glacier.
Glacier National Park is named for the glacier-scoured landscape. A few small glaciers remain throughout the park today, some of which can be seen from the roads. Just look for the tell-tale blue ice and crevasses that distinguishes them from the snowfields above timberline. [Top 10 Most Visited National Parks]
Visitors to the park in the summer should check the local road conditions before their trip. A heavy snowpack and budget cuts have hampered efforts to plow popular roads to the park in recent years. This month, plow crews have made progress removing snow from the park's famed Going-to-the-Sun Road, clearing up to half a mile on a good day. Happy summer!
Clouds and canyons converge at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona and Utah. This wilderness area boasts striking sandstone cliffs and narrow canyons beloved to hikers.
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Around and around goes Saturn's north polar storm — as fast as 330 miles per hour (150 meters per second). This striking red photograph of the 1,250-mile-wide…Read More »
(2,000 kilometer) storm is a false-color image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft taken in November 2012. No one knows how long Saturn's north polar storm has been spinning, according to NASA. Saturn periodically sports "Great White Spots" thousands of kilometers wide. These white-cloud storms are sometimes visible by telescope on Earth. Less «
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Credit: Owen Shieh, University of Hawaii
A graceful three-layered cloud structure develops over the Indian Ocean in this award-winning photo snapped in 2011. As part of a projected called DYNAMO,…Read More »
researchers are studying the dynamics of the Madden-Julian Oscillation, a travelling atmospheric pattern over the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The pattern creates anomalous phases of tropical rain and then unusual dryness in patterns lasting a month or two. Understanding this pattern helps scientists build better models for climate and weather. [Read More: Best Digital Cameras for Stunning Shots] Less «
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Credit: Kirsi Rilla
This strange specimen is an ordinary cell, transformed by scientists into a cancer-promoting monster. Using gene transfer, researcher from the University…Read More »
of Eastern Finland coaxed this cell into producing large quantities of a carbohydrate compound called hyaluronan. The spiky protuberances that make this cell look like a Koosh ball are actually hyaluronan factories.
Hyaluronan is part of the body's chemical toolbelt for healing, but it can also promote inflammation and cancer. New research published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry finds that high sugar concentrations in the blood promote the production of hyaluronan, which may explain why diabetics have an elevated risk of breast cancer. Researchers hope that slowing hyaluronan production could slow the spread of cancerous cells. Less «
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Biomineral Single Crystals
Credit: Pupa U.P.A. Gilbert and Christopher E. Killian; University of Wisconsin-Madison
Biomineral crystals found in a sea urchin tooth. Geologic or synthetic mineral crystals usually have flat faces and sharp edges, whereas biomineral crystals…Read More »
can have strikingly uncommon forms that have evolved to enhance function. The image here was captured using environmental scanning electron microscopy and false-colored. Each color highlights a continuous singlecrystal of calcite (CaCO3) made by the sea urchin Arbacia punctulata, at the forming end of one of its teeth. Together, these biomineral crystals fill space, harden the tooth, and toughen it enough to grind rock. Less «
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Credit: Lucile and William Mann, Smithsonian Institution
Two cuties get cuddly in this 1937 photograph taken on a National Geogrpahic Society-Smithsonian Institution expedition to the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).…Read More »
This image is part of the collection of William Mann, director of the National Zoo, and Lucile, his wife and a writer and editor, but the Smithsonian knows little about this strangely cozy primate and tiger cub. Less «
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Credit: NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio
This visualization shows a coronal mass ejection approaching Venus. Coronal mass ejections are eruptions of solar winds and magnetic fields from the sun…Read More »
into space; they happen every few days to a couple times a day, depending on how active the sun is. Interactions of these "CMEs" with Earth's atmosphere can cause extra-strong auroras, or northern (and southern) lights. [See dazzling aurora images]
CMEs and other solar activity are currently in the news because some believers in the so-called Mayan Apocalypse think that sun activity is set to destroy or damage Earth on Dec. 21. In fact, according to NASA, the sun is showing no signs of unusual activity. Less «
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Solar Storm May Spark Dazzling Northern Lights Display
Skywatchers at high latitudes can expect spectacular aurora borealis displaysin the skies tonight (Aug. 5) thanks to a strong solar flare that hurled…Read More »
a cloud of plasma toward Earth on Aug. 2. The flare occurred when an intense magnetic event above sunspot 1261 hurled a stream of charged particles that's now headed toward Earth, according to SpaceWeather.com.
Also known as the Northern Lights, the aurora light show is the result of the interaction of these charged particles with Earth's magnetic field.
The image above, taken by instruments onboard NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows a powerful M9-class solar flare that erupted from the sun at 10:09 p.m. EDT on July 29 (0209 GMT July 30). M-Class flares are medium-strength events. The strongest type of solar eruption is class X, while class C represents the weakest, on the scale. The Aug. 2 flare registered as a middleclass M1 event. [Read more at SPACE.com]
This image taken by Hanna Jackowiak shows the microstructures of the lower parts of eggshell wall in a pheasant. The eggshell in birds is composed of a…Read More »
thick layer of mineral column and underlying thin, fibrous membrane. Scanning electron microscopy was used to show the space between these layers.
This image was taken during microscopic studies on the spatial structure of the eggshell in the pheasant and was an entry in the 2005 Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge (SciVis) competition, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Journal Science. The competition is held each year to recognize outstanding achievements by scientists, engineers, visualization specialists and artists who are innovators in using visual media to promote the understanding of research results and scientific phenomena. To learn more about the competition and view all the winning entries, see the SciVis Special Report. (Date of Image: May 30, 2005.) Less «
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Credit: Garwee, Stock.xchg
African penguins take a sidewalk stroll. These two-foot-tall birds are also known as "jackass penguins" because of their loud, donkey-like calls. They…Read More »
nest in burrows along southern Africa's coastal waters, laying two eggs that are cared for by both mom and dad. One major African penguin colony is right near Cape Town, South Africa, at Boulders Beach. There, penguins rub elbows with tourists and swimmers. Less «
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Merging Galaxies Form Cosmic Exclamation Point
Credit: X-ray NASA/CXC/IfA/D.Sanders et al; Optical NASA/STScI/NRAO/A.Evans et al
VV 340, also known as Arp 302, provides a textbook example of colliding galaxies seen in the early stages of their interaction. The edge-on galaxy near…Read More »
the top of the image is VV 340 North and the face-on galaxy at the bottom of the image is VV 340 South. Millions of years later these two spirals will merge -- much like the Milky Way and Andromeda will likely do billions of years from now. Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (purple) are shown here along with optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope (red, green, blue). VV 340 is located about 450 million light years from Earth. Less «
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A Great Comet Sets
Credit: S. Deiries/ESO
Comet McNaught, a comet discovered by British-Australian astronomer Robert H. McNaught, sets behind Mount Paranal, Chile in 2007. The comet, nicknamed…Read More »
the "Great Comet of 2007" was visible to the naked eye for southern hemisphere viewers. The comet was the brightest seen from Earth for 40 years, and researchers later discovered Comet McNaught to be the largest ever measured.Less «
Care for a swim? Perhaps not in this sulfur lake, found near the Dallol volcano in the Danakil Depression of Ethiopia. The landscape is not unlike Yellowstone…Read More »
National Park's hot springs, with small geysers and mineral-rich pools dotting the landscape. This lake is ringed in yellow due to high concentrations of natural sulfur, known in ancient times as brimstone.
If lakes of sulfur aren't hellish enough for you, consider this: The nearby mining settlement of Dallol, now a ghost town, holds the record high average temperature for an inhabited location. An annual average temperature of 94 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Celsius) was recorded in Dallol in the 1960s, shortly before the town was abandoned. Less «
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Plankton Bloom Tie-Dyes the Sea
Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC
Like tie-dye on the water, blue and green swirls decorate the Barents Sea off the coast of Norway in this Aug. 14 image. The colors are created by a massive…Read More »
phytoplankton bloom. This image, captured by NASA's Aqua satellite, reveals a distinctive milky blue color often associated with plankton called coccolithophores. Less «
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Hurricane Irene Slices Through Islands
Credit: NOAA Hurricane Irene Project
Flood waters from Hurricane Irene breach North Carolina's Hatteras Island, cutting through Highway 12, the road connecting the island to the mainland.…Read More »
This photo, taken Aug. 28 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is part of a larger project to assess the damage Irene caused to the East Coast. The hurricane came ashore near Cape Lookout on North Carolina's Outer Banks on Aug. 27 before heading toward New Jersey and New York. [Read: How Barrier Islands Survive Storms] Less «
takes photomicrographs of regular rocks, transforming them with the use of special filters into stained-glass hues. Cesare, who is now selling his photographs in the U.S. via his website, thinks of himself as less an artist than a reporter, painstakingly coaxing brilliant colors out of tiny slices of stone. [See a full gallery of Cesare's work] Less «
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Eye-Popping Undersea Color
Credit: Ken Bondy, NSF
A gelatinous nudibranch (Janolus barbarensis) adds a splash of color to the ocean in Morro Bay, Calif. Nudibranches are ocean-dwelling mollusks without…Read More »
shells; they're often called sea slugs, but some sea slugs are in a family of their own, unrelated to the 3,000 or so species of nudibranch.
Marine scientists believe that the colors on nudibranches keep predators at bay, much like a neon sign reading, "Tastes terrible, do not eat!" And indeed, some nudibranches store up toxins from their diet of poisonous sponges, making the slug-like creatures themselves deadly to predators. Less «
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Swirl of Stunning Stars
Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
This image of a pair of interacting galaxies called Arp 273 was taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and released in April 2011.
The distorted…Read More »
shape of the larger of the two galaxies shows signs of tidal interactions with the smaller of the two. It is thought that the smaller galaxy has actually passed through the larger one. Less «
This harlequin shrimp isn't clowning around (yeah, yeah, cue groans). Hymenocera elegans here is found in the waters off of Indonesia. Popular among aquarium…Read More »
enthusiasts for their bright colors, harlequin shrimp are nonetheless tough to care for in a tank. One reason is their diet: They eat only starfish (and sometimes sea urchins), and they reportedly prefer to eat them alive. Since the prey is so much larger than the predator, it sometimes takes the shrimp two weeks to finish off a single (living) starfish. No wonder people think clowns are scary. Less «
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Feeding the Beast
Credit: ESA–AOES Medialab
Streams of cold gas feed a forming galaxy in this artist's visualization. The "arms" of gas bring in the raw material to feed star formation in the new…Read More »
No one has ever seen this process in real life; rather, this version of galaxy formation is a theoretical scenario based on numerical simulations. Less «
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The Microbes That Cleaned the Gulf
Credit: Luke McKay, University of Georgia
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill left a sheen of petroleum on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. Now, a new study finds that oil-eating microbes chowed…Read More »
down on this unlikely feast — but the type of microbes depended strongly on water temperature.
Cold-loving, or psychrophilic, bacteria thrived in the deep oil plume rising from the ocean floor, feeding preferentially on natural gas, researchers reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of Oct. 3, 2011.
"The ability of oil-eating bacteria to grow with natural gas as their 'foodstuff' is important," said study researcher David Valentine of the University of California, Santa Barbara, "because these bacteria may have reached high numbers by eating the more-abundant gas, then turned their attention to other components of the oil." Less «
The Oct. 11 full moon shines over Greenland's ice sheet in this photograph taken from Summit Station. Ice crystals in the air reflect the moon's light,…Read More »
creating a halo effect. But it wasn't a night to stay out sky-watching long: Temperatures were -22 degrees Fahrenheit (-30 degrees Celsius) when photographer Ed Stockard snapped this image. Less «
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The Folds of the Earth
Credit: Michael Fritz, Alfred Wegener Institute
An exposed wall of ice-rich permafrost dwarfs a researcher along the coast of Herschel Island in the Yukon Territory of Canada. Permafrost is soil, often…Read More »
water-rich, that is below freezing. The sea rapidly erodes this permafrost in coastal zones, a geological process that could have major implications for humans living in such chilly coastal areas. Currently, Arctic coastlines are eroding by about 3 to 6 feet (1 to 2 meters) each year, according to the Alfred Wegener Institute. The Institute is now funding study of this erosion to understand how it happens and what triggers the coastline loss. Less «
Boo! Do you believe in spooks? This 1920s-era couple seem downright relaxed for two people being haunted by an ominous specter, but then, the ghost only…Read More »
revealed herself on film … or did she?
In fact, this is an example of spirit photography, a supposed method of capturing images of the dead practiced by self-proclaimed mediums beginning in the late 1800s. In the days before Photoshop, spirit photographers doctored their photos by overlaying other photographs or magazine images. Some of the "spirits" were simply double exposures. Ghostly "mist" was often added by etching the negatives. Less «
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Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Where in the world is all the water vapor? It may be hard to tell at first glance, but this wall of globes represents a simulation of monthly averaged…Read More »
distribution of total column water vapor on the planet. Such simulations are important, because understanding the distribution of water vapor on Earth is critical for understanding our planet's climate. Less «
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Catch a Falling Star
Credit: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
Go ahead, wish upon a shooting star — you have plenty to choose from. This is a composite image of meteors from 2009 to 2011, including the Orionid,…Read More »
Perseid and Geminid showers. This past weekend (Oct 21 and 22) the 2012 Orionids wowed stargazers. Less «
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Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
See that teeny-tiny white dot up in the left-hand corner of this image? Insignificant space dust, right?
Not quite. That little speck is Tethys, one of…Read More »
Saturn's moons. The moon is 660 miles across (1,602 km), but with Saturn in the foreground, it doesn't show its size. The Cassini spacecraft took this image in August 2012 from about 18 degrees below the plane of Saturn's rings. Less «
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Ring of Fire
Credit: David Mencin, UNAVCO. Distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons License
Colorful bacterial mats create the rainbow rings that circle Grand Prismatic Spring, a Yellowstone National Park landmark and the largest hot spring in…Read More »
the United States. This aerial view shows the full extent of the spring, which is about 300 feet (90 meters) wide at its widest point. The water gets about 160 feet (50 m) deep, but you don't want to take a dip, regardless — at its center, the pool reaches temperatures of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius). Less «
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Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Headlights spotlight a new arrival from orbit far out in rural Kazakhstan. No, this isn't a government UFO cover-up; it's the return of Expedition 33 from…Read More »
the International Space Station.
Carrying Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoside, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and American astronaut Sunita Williams, the Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft landed in remote Kazakhstan on Nov. 19. Less «
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Seriously Spooky Squid
Credit: Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Talk about a sea monster. This 1889 illustration of a vampire squid paints these mysterious creatures in a creepy light — fitting, given that the…Read More »
scientific name for vampire squid, Vampyrotheuthis infernalis translates roughly to "vampire squid from hell."
In fact, vampire squid are the only known cephalopods that don't hunt for their prey (so much for their namesake). Instead, they're the sea's garbage disposals, eating marine detritus that floats down to the depths like snow. Less «
It's getting breezy on the East Coast as Hurricane Sandy approaches the mid-Atlantic states. The ghostly lines on this map represent wind speeds, with…Read More »
whiter, thicker lines representing faster winds. As of about 11 a.m. EDT on Oct. 29, 2012, winds were blowing at speeds between 15 and 30 miles per hour (24 and 48 kilometers per hour). Forecasts call for Sandy to blow in to New York City with winds ranging from 40 to 55 mph (64 to 80 kph) with gusts up to 70 or 80 mph (112 to 129 kph). Less «
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Crazy Cat's Eye
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/RIT/J.Kastner et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI
NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory captures the stunning Cat's Eye Nebula in vivid pink. The nebula, also known as NGC 6543, is in the constellation Draco…Read More »
and was first discovered in 1786.
This image is part of a recent study published August 2012 in The Astronomical Journal examining 21 planetary nebulas within 5000 light-years of our own planet. Despite their name, planetary nebulas are not planets, but dying stars that have used up their hydrogen cores and expanded. Our own sun will become a planetary nebula in several billion years. Less «
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Credit: Jeremy Potter NOAA/OAR/OER.
A scientist explores the otherworldly Arctic in this 2005 photograph taken on an expedition to the ocean's deep Canada Basin. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter…Read More »
HEALY stands in the background. The ship accommodates up to 50 scientists at a time and can cut through 4.5 feet (1.4 meters) of ice, opening up avenues for ocean exploration. Less «
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Auroras Over America
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using VIIRS Day-Night Band data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP)
Undulating high over Quebec and Ontario, the northern lights outshine city lights on Oct. 8, 2012. The strong aurora borealis resulted from a sun storm…Read More »
three days earlier that sent solar particles on a collision course with Earth's atmosphere. The interaction excites oxygen and nitrogen molecules 60 to 250 miles (100 to 400 kilometers) up, releasing photons, or light particles. Less «
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Credit: Image Courtesy of Joseph Bradley, distributed by NASA Goddard under a Creative Commons license
A stunning display of the northern lights brightens the sky in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada on Oct. 1, 2012. This light show is the result of a coronal mass…Read More »
ejection, or a burst of solar particles and wind, three days before. When these solar particles interact with Earth's upper atmosphere, they cause colorful, shimmering aurora like this green-and-purple specimen. Less «
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Awesome Weather Phenomenon
Unidentified flying object or weather event? It's the latter, of course — this flat-as-a-pancake cloud over Africa is what's called a cumulonimbus…Read More »
cloud, which means "column rain" in Latin. These clouds can form on their own or along cold fronts, bringing with them heavy rain, wind, lightning and even tornadoes. Less «
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Jewel of the Caribbean
Jewel-like shallow waters hug the shores of Cuba in this image taken from the Envisat satellite in 2011. In order to get a cloudless view of the Caribbean…Read More »
island, researchers stitched together three snapshots. The Florida Keys are visible as a bright band northwest of Cuba, while the southeast tip of the island is darkened by the Sierra Maestra mountain range. Less «
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On Top of the World
Arctic sea ice caps the North Pole in this Aqua satellite image captured Sept. 3, 2010. Ice like this is in short supply lately, having just reached …Read More »
This dramatic ice loss is caused by long-term warming mixed with a windy storm that brought heat to the central Arctic Ocean and melted the already weak ice. Less «
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The (Tiny) Face of a Killer
Credit: CDC/ Michael and Paula Smith
The visage of a tiny velvet ant peers up in this scanning electron microscope image magnified 23 times. This tiny creature, genus Dasymutilla is not actually…Read More »
an ant at all, but a wasp. She (this is a female) boasts a nasty sting, especially if you're another wasp or bee. In order to reproduce, velvet ants lay their eggs inside the larvae of wasps and bees. When the eggs hatch, they feed on the still-living but paralyzed larvae that house them. Less «
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What in the World?
Credit: Image courtesy of C. Marks and D.H.H.Hall
Any guesses as to what this unusual tendril might be? Squid arm? Elephant trunk? Scroll down for the answer …
You're looking at the rear end of a tiny…Read More »
worm called Caenorhabditis elegans, one of the most common lab animals in science. These little soil-living nematodes are only about 0.04 inches (1 millimeter) long. They're handy for scientists because they're easy to analyze genetically and simple to keep alive in the laboratory. C. elegans can even survive being frozen and thawed, making long-term storage easy.
This image comes courtesy a recent study published July 27 in the journal Science. Researchers mapped the neural connections in the nervous system of the C. elegans posterior, revealing the sexual circuits that play an important role in mating. The nerves of a worm's rear end may seem like an odd topic of study, but scientists believe that tracing these simple circuits will help them understand how the more complex neural circuits of humans and other mammals work. Less «
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The Perfect View?
Credit: János Kovács, distributed by the EGU under a Creative Commons License
The story behind this sparkly blue glacial lagoon called the Jokulsarlon in Iceland is one of ice and climate. When the first settlers arrived in Iceland,…Read More »
the edge of an outlet glacier called Breidamerkurjokull and part of the great Vatnajokull glacier, was located about 12 miles (20 kilometers) farther north than it is today, according to János Kovács, who took the photo on June 10, 2012. During the Little Ice Age, between 1600 and 1900 when the climate cooled, the glacier advanced to about 0.6 miles (1 km) from the coast at the Jokulsa River. Then a warm stint between 1920 and 1965 caused the outlet glacier to retreat in a snap, opening up a lagoon up to 623 feet (190 meters) deep. The lagoon grew from about 3 square miles (8 square kilometers) in 1975 to nearly 5.8 square miles (15 km2) in 1998. Large blocks of ice breaking off the edge of the glacier have kept the lagoon stocked with icebergs, according to Kovács. Less «
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The Pink Lady
Credit: Carsten Pape, Alfred-Wegener-Institut
Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) plays a key role in the food webs of the South Ocean. In fact, throughout their evolutionary history, these tiny crustaceans…Read More »
have developed many biological rhythms that are closely connected to large seasonal changes in their environment.
But how will marine organisms like the krill react to environmental changes at the poles, such as receding sea ice and ocean warming, given that their vital processes, such as reproduction cycles and seasonable food availability, have been synchronized with the environment over millions of years? To answer this question, researchers in the virtual Helmholtz Institute PolarTime are taking a very close look at Antarctic krill, which serves as a model organism for a polar plankton species that has adapted to the extreme conditions. The Helmholtz institute is part of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. Less «
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Credit: Jose Julian Esteban, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons license
Set against a sherbet sky, these rock formations off the coast of Spain show a prehistoric kind of beauty. Photographer Jose Julian Esteban won a prize…Read More »
for this shot at the 2011 European Geosciences Union photo contest. The rocks are folded cretaceous calcarenite near Bilbao, Spain. Less «
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The Parasite and the Protector
Credit: Image courtesy of Gilles Vanwalleghem, Daniel Monteyne and David Pérez-Morga (Université Libre de Bruxelles) and the Center for Microscopy and Molecular Imaging (Gosselies, Belgium)
An immune cell tangles with a protozoan parasite in a life-or-death struggle. The ribbon-like parasite is Trypanosoma brucei, a microscopic menace that…Read More »
causes African sleeping sickness. The parasite is transmitted by the bite of the tsetse fly. New research, published June 14, 2012 online by the journal Science, finds that once in the body, this parasite is well-adapted to give the immune system the slip. By releasing certain messenger chemicals, the parasite can shut down the anti-trypanosome proteins in immune cells.
The findings are important, given that at least 7,000 people per year in sub-Saharan Africa contract sleeping sickness, according to the World Health Organization. As the parasite infiltrates the brain, symptoms include disturbed sleep, confusion and poor coordination. If caught early, African sleeping sickness is treatable; left untreated, it is almost always fatal. Less «
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Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
The alienlike beauty of this image, taken by a camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), may seem to portend some Martian artists. Alas,…Read More »
the ridges and ripples are evidence of Martian sand dunes. The brighter features represent two classes of so-called aeolian bedforms within Proctor Crater. The ripples, research has shown, are composed of fine sand or fine sand coated with coarser sand and granules. And the larger, darker bedforms are dunes composed of sand, possibly derived from basaltic, or volcanic, rock (and hence the darker color). Ripples tend to move slower than dunes. Because of this, over time, ripples get covered with dust, possibly explaining the bright tone visible here. The image was taken by the MRO's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on Feb. 9, 2009. Less «
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Our Colorful Planet
Earth takes on beautiful colors in this image created by a Russian weather satellite. The satellite, Elektro-L No.1, scans both visible and infrared wavelengths…Read More »
of light. Combining these images yields the colorful view of Earth seen above. Less «
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The Supermoon appears to be sinking into the atmosphere. The image was taken by André Kuipers from aboard the ISS on May 5, 2012.
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Galactic Easter Egg
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/P. N. Appleton (SSC/Caltech)
With colors that would make Faberge green with envy, the Cartwheel galaxy stands out against a backdrop of other brightly-colored galactic bodies. The…Read More »
Easter egg appearance of this galaxy is due to false colors representing various wavelengths of light — ultraviolet in blue, B-band visible light in green, infrared in red and x-ray radiation in purple.
The 'rings' of this galaxy are the aftermath of a collision between the Cartwheel galaxy and another galaxy about 100 million years ago. The first ripple is the blue outer ring, while the yellow-orange "yolk" of the Easter egg is a combination of visible and infrared light from the second ripple. The neon blob and green spiral in the background are two other galaxies, one of which may have been the one that collided with Cartwheel Less «
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The Awesome Arctic
Credit: Romain Schläppy, Paris, distributed by the EGU under a Creative Commons License.
An iceberg moves slowly through a fjord in Tassilaq, East Greenland, its underwater bulk visible in brilliant blue. This photograph was taken from a helicopter in September, 2011.
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Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
Ocean or Van Gogh painting? This NASA image titled "Perpetual Ocean" shows ocean surface currents around the world during the period from June 2005 through…Read More »
These strange circular clouds are no natural phenomenon. They were created by NASA in order to study the circulation in the atmosphere over North America.…Read More »
On March 27, NASA successfully launched five suborbital rockets in order to study the upper level jet stream. Each rocket, launched one after another 80 seconds apart, released a chemical tracer to create these milky clouds at the very edge of space, 65 miles (105 km) up.
Tracking the movements of the clouds will help researchers understand air movements at this level of the atmosphere. Meanwhile, these enormous cloud rings were visible as far south as Wilmington, N.C. and as far north as Buffalo, N.Y. Less «
Welcome to my ice crevasse. Two divers meet an unexpected surprise in the frigid waters of Palmer Land on the Antarctica Peninsula during a 1962-1963 expedition.…Read More »
Their encounter was with a Weddell Seal (Leptonychotes weddellii), a deep diver that favors a coastal ice habitat. These bruisers can tip the scales at up to 1,360 pounds (600 kilograms) and they live farther south than any other mammal on Earth.
This vintage photograph was taken in 1962 during an Antarctic survey led by biologist Waldo Schmitt, an honorary research associate at the Smithsonian Institution. A crustacean expert, Schmitt travelled the world on multiple research expeditions. The one to Antarctica would be his last. He died in 1977 at the age of 90. Less «
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Credit: NASA images by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon (Earth Observatory), using EO-1 ALI data
Water and land seem swapped in this satellite photo taken over the South Pacific. The steaming volcanic island of Tinakula appears in dark, almost liquid,…Read More »
green. The surrounding water takes on a milky, solid look because of the reflection of sunlight on the ocean.
Satellite observations of Tinakula suggest that the island erupts occasionally, but remote as it is, eyewitnesses are rare, according to NASA's Earth Observatory. Here, a plume of gas and perhaps ash rises lazily above the island. Less «
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Credit: Miloš Rusnák, Slovak Academy of Sciences, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons license.
Like something out of a fantasy land, the Icelandic waterfall Gullfoss pours nearly 5,000 cubic feet (140 cubic meters) of water over its edge each second.…Read More »
Gullfoss (which means 'Golden Falls' in English) is on the Hvita river in southwest Iceland. The falls were once considered for hydroelectric power, but fortunately for this stunning vista, they were sold to the Icelandic government instead and preserved. Now the spot is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland. Less «
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Credit: Capt. Andreas M. van der Wurff
A roll cloud, associated with thunderstorm downdrafts and strange sea winds, tumbles across the sky off the coast of Brazil. Roll clouds are rare and harmless, though ominous-looking.
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Credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi/TWAN (twanight.org)
Everyone's heard of sunshine and moonshine (and not the stuff that comes in glass jars). But the Earth shines too. Sunlight bounces off our planet, hits…Read More »
the moon and bounces back, visible as the silvery light seen here reflecting off Earth's natural satellite above the European Southern Obervatory's (ESO) Paranal Observatory in Chile.
New research published Feb. 29 in the journal Nature suggests that this Earthshine may be useful for more than beauty, however. Researchers led by Michael Sterzik of the ESO found that you can measure the polarization of Earthshine to reveal our planet's cloud cover, ocean surface and even vegetation cover. Using Earth as a test case, researchers could develop methods to study light signals bouncing off far-off exoplanets to determine their landscapes, the researchers reported. Less «
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Our Tangled Magnetic Shield
Credit: Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)
Spaghetti dinner gone sour? Some sort of fancy new knitting technique?
No, this is a computer simulation of the complex and crazy magnetic fields that…Read More »
make up Earth's magnetosphere. The magnetosphere is the result of the interaction of charged particles from the sun and the magnetic field that surrounds the planet. When solar storms send particles flowing toward Earth, the result can be stunning space weather — the kind that creates beautiful auroras but also can disrupt satellites, telecommunications and electrical power grids. Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee are trying to understand how these storms work in order to better predict how storms on the sun will influence life on our planet. Less «
This spectacular, multi-hued formation of so-called lenticular clouds was observed over Rocky Mountain National Park, near Estes Park, Colo. Professional…Read More »
photographer Richard H. Hahn snapped the magnificent view soon after sunset at 5:02 p.m. MST (7:02 EST) on Jan. 5.
Lenticular clouds form when waves of moist, fast-moving air are pushed upward by winds and ascend over high mountains. At the mountain's higher altitude, the moist air's water droplets cool and expand, and the water vapor condenses. When the air moves over the mountain top and descends to uniformly humid air conditions, lenticular clouds form.
These clouds are characterized by their smooth, symmetrical oval or round shapes, and because of this, are often referred to as "flying saucer" or "UFO" clouds.
"The significance of this particular atmospheric event was the dramatic shape and color of the cloud. It really did look like the 'mother ship' UFO," Hahn told LiveScience.com. "It was ominous and breathtaking." Less «
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A brilliant blue figure eight decorates the ocean as if someone painted it there. But this isn't man's work — the phenomenon is caused by a phytoplankton…Read More »
bloom coloring the water in the South Atlantic about 379 miles (600 km) east of the Falkland Islands.
The Earth-observing satellite Envisat captured this image of the algal bloom on Dec. 2, 2011. Satellites with ocean color sensors can even tell the species of the plankton from space, by analyzing the shade of the algae's chlorophyll pigment. Less «
The night sky puts on a colorful show like no other in this compressed wide-angle view of the aurora over Norway in late 2011. The gyrating colors are…Read More »
caused by charged particles hitting atoms in the high atmosphere. Less «
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Colorful and Cerebral
Credit: Hermann Cuntz, modified by Klas Pettersen
This tangled forest is a false-color representation of the cells that make you who you are: neurons. Brain cells communicate in complex networks, but researchers…Read More »
are getting better and better and unraveling their signals.
Reporting Dec. 12 in the journal Neuron, Norwegian and German scientists say they've used a supercomputer to better understand how the babble of thousands of nerve cells "talking" to one another translates when recorded onto an electrode of the sort used for electroencephalograms (EEGs). This translation effort should make it easier to design brain implants that help control epilepsy, or even enable a paralyzed patient to move his or her limbs with brain waves, the researchers said. Less «