Above: The majestic sandstone bridges of Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah invite you to ponder the power of water in a landscape usually defined by its absence. Hang around after dark for a view of the landscape that few ever see.
Located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of the Four Corners boundary of southeast Utah, Natural Bridges was declared a National Monument in 1908. The park’s three bridges are named Kachina, Owachomo and Sipapu in honor of the Native Americans that once made this area their home. A natural bridge is formed through erosion by water flowing in the streambed of the canyon.
Here, the night skies are as awe-inspiring as the bridges. Some of the darkest night skies in the United States are in Natural Bridges National Monument. In 2007, the International Dark-Sky Association named Natural Bridges the first International Dark-Sky Park, which is a designation that recognizes that the park has some of the darkest and clearest skies in all of the United States. [Related: 6 Stellar Places for Skywatching in the US]
penguins, with some measuring up to 42 inches (115 centimeters) tall and weighing up to 84 pounds (38 kilograms). These penguins can dive to depths of 1,800 feet (550 meters) on a single breath of air — sometimes holding their breath for up to 20 minutes. [Related: Photos of Flightless Birds - All 18 Penguin Species] Less «
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Get Lost in the Wilderness
Credit: Bob Wick, BLM California
The Red Cloud Peak Wilderness Study Area is located in Hinsdale County, Colorado. The region contains majestic peaks, …Read More »
alpine tundra and scenic vistas. Lower elevations are heavily forested, and there are several rock glacier formations, alpine lakes and streams in the area.
The Wilderness Study Area is home to many wildlife species, including red-tailed hawks, prairie falcons, doves, quail, songbirds, mule deer, rock squirrels, jackrabbits and several fox species. Visitors to the region can enjoy a variety of activities, including hiking, backpacking, camping, mountain climbing, horseback riding and fishing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. [Related Gallery: One-of-a-Kind Places on Earth] Less «
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Stunning View from Orbit
European astronaut Alexander Gerst snapped this incredible photo of the Banks Peninsula, which is located on the east coast of …Read More »
New Zealand, from the International Space Station. Gerst is currently a member of the space station's Expedition 40 crew.
This energetic fishing cat lives at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C. In the wild, these animals can be found in southwest India, Sri…Read More »
Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, China, and countries of the southern Himalayas.
Fishing cats are strongly tied to densely vegetated areas near water, in marshes, mangroves, rivers and streams. These felines have long, stocky bodies, relatively short legs, broad heads, round ears and short tails. Fishing cats typically have olive-gray fur with black stripes and a row of black spots, according to the National Zoo. [Related: Ridiculously Cute Photos of Mother Cats and Kittens] Less «
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Brown Bear Party In Alaska
Credit: Douglas Croft/US Department of the Interior
You will be hard pressed to find more brown bears in one photo than this one from Katmai National Park in Alaska.
Formerly known as Katmai National…Read More »
Monument, the area was established in 1918 to protect the volcanically devastated region surrounding Mount Katmai and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Today, Katmai National Park and Preserve remains an active volcanic landscape, but it also protects 9,000 years of human history, as well as important habitats for salmon and the thousands of brown bears that feed on them.
Brooks Falls, seen here, is one of the best places in the world to watch brown bears hunt, because it is one of the first streams in the region where bright, energetic, and pre-spawned salmon are available to bears. Early in the salmon run, Brooks Falls creates a temporary barrier to migrating salmon, resulting in a particularly successful fishing spot for bears. It also happens to be a particularly good spot for spotting brown bears. [Related Gallery: Beastly Bears]
This colorful display is a close-up view of the feathers of a scarlet macaw (Ara macao). The photo highlights the macaw's shimmery plumes and…Read More »
the bird's spectacular beauty.
Santosh Shanmuga, a student in the Laboratory of Receptor Biology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, snapped the artistic image in December 2009, and submitted it as part of a 2010 photo contest called "Envisioning the Invisible." [Related: Images of a Clever Parrot] Less «
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Credit: Clyde Nishimura, Smithsonian's National Zoo
This adorable creature is a short-eared elephant shrew that was born May 8 at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington,…Read More »
D.C. These tiny mammals weigh less than 1.5 ounces (0.09 pounds) at birth, according to zookeepers.
Credit: Cheryl Hobbs/US Department of the Interior
Father’s Day wasn’t the only big event this past weekend. National Get Outdoors Day was on Saturday, and one intrepid paddler celebrated the holiday in…Read More »
style, capturing a gorgeous photo of Lake Mead from her canoe.
The 7th annual National Get Outdoors Day was meant to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun across the nation. Participants from federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and the recreation industry teamed up to offer opportunities for families to experience the best hiking, rafting and camping that the country's national parks have to offer.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which stretches across Nevada and Arizona, is the perfect place to get out and play. The park offers year-round boating, fishing, hiking, photography, picnicking and sightseeing. It is also home to thousands of desert plants and animals that are adapted to survive where rain is scarce and temperatures can soar.
The park is hosting a Selfie Scavenger Hunt all summer long. Take a selfie at 10 landmarks, and then share the photos on social media using hashtag #MeadSelfie or #MohaveSelfie. The best photos will be featured on the National Park Service website.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered the carrier to move from the North Arabian Sea into the Arabian Gulf to provide additional flexibility, should the U.S. military need to intervene in Iraq to protect American lives, citizens and interests, said Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby. [Related: The 10 Fastest Military Airplanes] Less «
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White House Maker Faire
Credit: Official White House photo by Pete Souza
The first-ever White House Maker Faire was held yesterday (June 18) in Washington, D.C. President Obama hosted tinkerers, inventors and entrepreneurs from…Read More »
across the country in an event that celebrated innovation and expanding American manufacturing.
In this photo, President Obama is greeted by Russell, a 2,200-pound (998 kilograms) robotic giraffe, on the South Lawn of the White House. The imposing bot "walks" on wheels and is powered by a 12-horsepower hybrid fuel-engine motor. [Related: The 6 Strangest Robots Ever Created] Less «
Padre Island National Seashore in Texas separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Laguna Madre. The park protects 70 miles (113 kilometers) of coastline, dunes, prairies, and wind tidal flats teeming with life. The area is a safe nesting ground for the Kemp’s ridley sea turtles and a haven for 380 different bird species.
Of the five sea turtle species that roam the Gulf of Mexico, the Kemp's ridley is the smallest, with adult turtles reaching an average length of 23 to 27.5 inches (58.5 to 70 centimeters) and an average weight of 100 pounds (45 kilograms).
Each year, the public is invited to attend the releases of hatchlings that emerge from eggs cared for at the Padre Island National Seashore incubation facility. These releases — about 15 to 25 each year — are free to attend and are extremely popular, with thousands of people attending each release. This summer, dozens of nests are projected for release (click here for the dates), so head down to Padre Island and see one of these little guys for yourself. [Related Gallery: World's Cutest Baby Wild Animals]
The blue cloud at the lower left is the oldest stellar nursery in the image, according to ESA astronomers. To its right, another glowing cloud conceals clumps that will evolve into massive stars. Some of these clumps are visible as bright spots of light.
Astronomers say the birth of new stars in W48 is the result of dozens of supernova explosions more than 10 million years ago in a region known as Aquila Supershell, which lies beyond the left edge of this image. The exploding stars may have initiated a swave of star formation that sparked, one by one, these stellar nurseries. [Related Gallery: Dreamy Images Reveal Beauty in Physics] Less «
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Credit: University of California, San Diego, publications/Erik Jepsen
The San Diego Supercomputer Center is home to Gordon, a type of supercomputer that uses massive amounts of flash memory to search through and retrieve…Read More »
information from randomly organized data. Supercomputer Gordon, named after the comic strip superhero Flash Gordon, was commissioned by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2009 for $20 million.
The machine is part of the NSF's Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment, which is a nationwide program centered around 16 high-performance computers and other data analysis resources.
Supercomputer Gordon came online in early January 2012, and is being used by scientists for a range of activities, from mapping genomes to studying computer automation in stock trading. [Related: 10 Revolutionary Computers] Less «
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Crackling Lava Lake
This jaw-dropping view of Mount Kilauea's summit lava lake was taken at dusk on Feb. 1, 2014. The lava lake is contained within the so-called "Overlook"…Read More »
crater, roughly 160 feet (50 meters) below the crater's rim. The level of the lake dipped slightly from the previous day, leaving behind a black coating on the crater walls, according to officials from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Black-footed ferrets were thought to be extinct, but a colony of these adorable creatures was discovered in Wyoming in 1980. Since then, all black-footed ferrets can be traced back to just 18 ferrets in that colony, according to the Smithsonian's National Zoo. [Related Gallery: World's Cutest Baby Wild Animals] Less «
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Acrobatic Fox Goes Head Over Heels
Credit: Bob Dreeszen/National Park Service
Not even the photographer is sure what this red fox is doing. Dancing? Gymnastics? All that matters is that this is one amazing photo.
Foxes are…Read More »
head-over-heels about the Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge, where this picture was taken. The park is an important habitat for fish and wildlife, including the brown bear, moose, caribou, wolf, wolverine, and, of course, the fox.
Foxes are omnivorous mammals that are light on their feet, as the above photo shows. They stand out from their relatives — jackals, wolves and dogs — because of their long, thin legs, lithe frame, pointed nose and bushy tail.
Most foxes are as big as medium-size dogs. Foxes can grow to measure 34 inches (86 centimeters) from their head to their flanks. Their tails can add an additional 12 to 22 inches (30 to 56 cm) to the length of their bodies. Since foxes are smaller mammals, they are also quite light, topping out around 24 pounds (11 kilograms). For acrobatics, foxes are the perfect size. [Related Gallery: Wonderful and Weird Wildlife Around the World]