Above: A spiral galaxy with a tail like a peacock interacts…Read More »
with a second, elliptical, galaxy in this Hubble telescope snapshot. NGC 2936, the spiral galaxy on top, and NGC 2937, the elliptical galaxy on the bottom, are close enough together that each's gravity affects the other. Because of these interactions, the spiral galaxy unwinds and stretches, causing gases and dusts to compress into new stars, seen in blue. The elliptical galaxy has little gas or dust to form new stars, and the reddish stars seen are older. Less «
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Credit: Ryan Hechinger
A cousin to the cute roly-poly bugs you might find in your garden, Leidya is a parasite that makes its home on crabs. Researchers at the University of…Read More »
California, Santa Barbara recently developed new food webs that reveal the place of parasites like this wriggly fellow in the ecosystem. Parasites, they reported June 18, 2013 in the journal PLOS Biology, may make their hosts more vulnerable to predators by debilitating them — but the joke's on the parasite, as they often get snarfed down in the process of predation.
Credit: Olga Strong/U.S. Department of the Interior
Yellowstone National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the United States. And for good reason: The park is home to the world's largest…Read More »
collection of geysers.
Over half the world's geothermal features, which includes geysers and hot springs, are found in Yellowstone. Geysers are springs that eject water and steam into the air. Yellowstone lies above a body of magma that gives off extreme heat, which powers the geysers.
Among the more than 300 geysers at Yellowstone is Old Faithful, a famous cone geyser in Wyoming that can shoot up to 8,400 gallons (32,000 liters) of piping hot water up to 185 feet (56 meters) into the air. The water works can last up to 5 minutes long.
Clepsydra Geyser, pictured above, is nearly continuously active, shooting water up to 45 feet (14 m) into the air. Clepsydra's name is derived from the Greek word for water clock. Before the 1959 Yellowstone earthquake, Clepsydra erupted every three minutes.
Meet Hank, the Smithsonian National Zoo's sloth bear cub, who made his public debut at the zoo on June 19.
Hank was born to mother Hana on Dec. 19, 2012,…Read More »
and he and mom have spent the six months since in the den near their exhibit on the zoo's Asia Trail. A live Sloth Bear Cub Cam on the zoo's website has let zoo staff and the public alike watch as Hank has grown up and become a lively explorer and climber. Now that he is more adept at getting around, he is on display in the outdoor enclosure from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. every day, weather permitting, the zoo said in a statement.
"Sloth bears in general are full of personality, but watching Hank explore and play in his yard is especially endearing," said animal keeper Mindy Babitz, in a statement from the zoo, which is one of only 18 in the United States that exhibits the species. Sloth bears (Melursus ursinus), which are native to Indian, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, are listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to poaching and habitat loss. Less «
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Supermoon Hangs Over DC
Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
The largest full moon of the year, called the supermoon, rises behind the Washington Monument, Sunday, June 23, 2013, in Washington, D.C. A supermoon is…Read More »
a full moon that happens within 12 hours of the lunar perigree, or the point in the lunar orbit that brings the moon closest to Earth.
This year, the moon was about 221,824 miles (356,991 kilometers) away at perigee, compared with the 252,581 miles (406,490 km) away at apogee, or when it is farthest away from Earth. This year's supermoon appeared up to 13.5 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than a typical full moon. Less «
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Star of the Ocean
Credit: Jon Moore
This brisingid sea star, a type of deep-sea dweller, was collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as part of its ocean exploration…Read More »
program. The sea star was found in Manning Seamount, an underwater volcanic mountain off the coast of New England in the Atlantic Ocean.
Brisingid sea stars can have up to 16 long, spiny arms that they use for feeding. These starfish can be found in a number of deep-sea locations around the world, including in the Caribbean and in the southwestern Pacific Ocean near New Zealand. Less «
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Bask in the View
Credit: National Park Service
U.S. national parks are not confined to just the 50 states. There's even a U.S. national park on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.
The National Park…Read More »
of American Samoa has beaches and views unlike any you'll find in the mainland United States. The park preserves and protects unique paleotropical rainforests, coral reefs, fruit bats and the Samoan culture. Located in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, in the Southern Hemisphere and near the International Date Line, this park spans three volcanic and mountainous islands, all shrouded in tropical rainforest. As if that's not enough, the park is also ringed with cliffs, beaches and coral reefs.
The National Park of American Samoa is also rich in history, with the Samoan culture being Polynesia's oldest. The first people of the Samoan Islands are thought to have come by sea from southeast Asia some 3,000 years ago. Near the park's Ofu beach, the To'aga archeological site has evidence of more than 3,000 continuous years of human occupancy. Modern descendants still reside nearby at Ofu Village.
Ever wonder about the size of a neutron star? Wonder no more. This NASA graphic places a neutron star — the densest object astronomers can observe…Read More »
directly — next to Manhattan Island. While a neutron star is about as long across as Manhattan (12 miles, or 19 kilometers), it contains half a million times the Earth's mass in that small space. Less «
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Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA
Comet ISON streaks across space in this series of images from Feb. 4, March 4, April 3 and May 4, 2013. ISON is currently about 455 million to 360 million…Read More »
miles (730-580 million kilometers) from the sun, but it's headed toward Earth's star at a fast clip. On Nov. 28, 2013, the comet will graze the sun in one of the closest passes ever recorded for any comet, moving within 800,000 miles (1.3 million km) of the star. Before the close encounter (and after, should ISON survive), the comet should be visible from Earth, possibly even in daylight. [Read More About Comet ISON] Less «
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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!
The human gut isn't the most glamorous of systems, but it's got an important job to do. This computer-generated 3-D model shows the small intestine (blue)…Read More »
and its generous blood supply (yellow). Using CT (computed tomography) scans, NIH researchers were able to map out this vasculature. Less «
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Aww! Baby Okapi Takes a Stroll
Credit: Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo
A 17-day-old female okapi tests out her land legs at the San Diego Zoo on Tuesday (June 4, 2013). This is the public debut for this little girl, who was…Read More »
born May 19 to mother Safarani. Okapis are giraffe relatives native to Central Africa; their shy tendencies kept early European explorers in the dark about their true existence for decades. It wasn't until 1901 that the species was formally classified and scientifically named. Less «
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Credit: NASA Earth Observatory image created by Robert Simmon, using data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and the U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. Caption information courtesy Mike Carlowicz.
The track of a deadly tornado streaks across the Oklahoma landscape in this satellite image of Oklahoma City. On May 20, 2013, an EF-5 tornado roared through…Read More »
Newcastle and Moore, suburbs of the city, killing at least 24 people and damaging or destroying about 13,000 homes and other buildings. NASA's Terra satellite observed the aftermath on June 2. In this false-color image, vegetation is red and buildings and pavement are blue-gray. The beige scar running through the image shows the tornado's path, now stripped of vegetation. Less «
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Really Big Butterfly
The "wingspan" of the butterfly nebula stretches over 3 light-years. The butterfly nebula is a planetary nebula, a misleading term — in…Read More »
fact, this gorgeous cloud of gas and dust is the remnants of a dying star about 4,000 light-years away from Earth. Hubble captured this image of the dusty butterfly in 2009. Less «
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Picture-Perfect Sunset Over Boneyard Beach
Credit: Francis Trudeau/U.S. Department of the Interior
Boneyard Beach on South Carolina's Bulls Island might sound like a scary place, but it's a beautiful spot to watch the sunset.
The beach is not as morbid…Read More »
as its name suggests. Boneyard Beach is named after all the downed trees that have been bleached by the sun and salt water. This so-called boneyard is why the beach has the reputation as the most photographed place on Bulls Island.
Part of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, the beach is 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Charleston, S.C. The refuge was established in 1932 as a safe haven for migratory birds. Here you'll also find the largest nesting population of loggerhead turtles outside of Florida. Visitors also flock to a viewing area for endangered red wolves. A pair of four-year-old red wolf siblings haa recently made the refuge their home.
Visitors looking to sweat a little more can surf fish, hike and bike. Bulls Island lies nearly 3 miles (4.8 km) off the mainland. Like most of the refuge, it is accessible only by boat.
Yaaaaaawn … Peanut the North American tree porcupine settles in for a snooze at the Edinburgh Zoo. Born in 2009, Peanut is part of a species that ranges…Read More »
from the southern boundary of the United States all the way into Canada and Alaska. At about 30 pounds (14 kg) full-grown, North American tree porcupines are the largest North American rodents after beavers. Less «
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Behind the Scenes in Space Photography
Ever wonder how those gorgeous astronaut shots from above Earth get taken? NASA pulls back the curtain in this image, which shows Expedition 36 astronaut…Read More »
Chris Cassidy in the cupola of the International Space Station. From his perch 250 miles (400 kilometers) up, Cassidy uses a 400mm lens to capture the goings-on down below. Less «
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Colorful Fish Love
Credit: Pietro Cremone, Italy
Is that a kiss on the cheek? This image, voted Fan Favorite in the 2013 University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science …Read More »
Underwater Photography Contest, captures two Mandarin dragonets (Synchiropus splendidus) in the process of mating. Amateur photographer Pietro Cremone caught the fish in the act in Puerto Galera, Philippines.
Yum … ice cake! Western lowland gorilla Monroe gets a cool birthday treat at the San Diego Zoo on June 17. The adorable ape turned two that day, enjoying…Read More »
a party complete with fruit-and-veggie ice cake (decorated with yam and banana frosting, ginger leaves and hibiscus flowers, of course) and cardboard party favors made by zoo staff. Check out more adorable baby animals in this gallery of cuteness. Less «
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Credit: Hans Volkert, DLR-IPA, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons License.
Haze turns an Alpine scene into a dreamscape in this shot snapped from an airplane in 2007. Taken from near Austria's Salzach Valley, the photograph highlights…Read More »
major mountain bodies, or massifs: The Watzmann, Hochkalter, Loferer Steinberge and Wilder Kaiser all in a row just to the right of center. The Inn Valley, obscured in white, runs across the background. Less «