Image of the Day
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Above: A photographer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service captured this adorable photo of a bear bending the rules in Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. [Related: Photos of Amazing Bears]
End of the Rainbow
Severe thunderstorms in southern Oregon sparked new fires in the region last week, but the destruction, the stormy weather also produced some stunning views. In particular, this spectacular rainbow was spotted in Crater Lake National Park.
According to the National Park Service, the photograph has not been enhanced or retouched in any way. [Related Gallery: Storm Chasing Scientists]
Inside a Lunar Crater
This colorful image may look like a piece of abstract art, but it's actually a map of the moon's surface.
The photo, captured by cameras aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), is a slope map of the northwestern portion of Posidonius crater. Warmer colors, such as red and yellow, indicate steeper slopes, whereas cooler colors (blues and greens) indicate shallower slopes on the lunar surface. [Related: 5 Mad Myths About the Moon]
This red panda cub was born on June 16 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, in Front Royal, Virginia. Animal keepers say the 7-week-old male cub is thriving and now weighs nearly two pounds (0.9 kilograms). The cub's mother, Regan, has neglected her offspring in the past, so the baby red panda is receiving round-the-clock human care. [Related Gallery: World's Cutest Baby Wild Animals]
European astronaut Alexander Gerst snapped this pretty picture of the Sahara Desert from aboard the International Space Station. Gerst shared the photo on Twitter, saying "Irrigation in the Sahara Desert looks like a challenging task from up here…"
Gerst is currently living aboard the space station as part of the Expedition 40 crew. The spaceflyer is expected to return to Earth in September, after spending five-and-a-half months in orbit. [Related Gallery: 101 Stunning Images from Orbit]
Sunset Over Glacier National Park
The sun sets over the Flathead River in Glacier National Park in Montana. The remaining daylight seems to melt into the unspoiled landscape.
The park includes more than 700 miles (1,100 kilometers) of trails and more than 130 named lakes. The area is also home to hundreds of species of animals, including grizzly bears, mountain goats, coyotes, moose and deer. [Related: Top 10 Most Visited National Parks]
The fascinating topography of the moon's Birt E crater can be seen in this false color image. More than 3.4 billion years ago, lava sputtered out of the a volcanic vent in Mare Nubium, located on the moon's near side, carving out the Birt E crater we see today.
This stunning view was captured by a camera aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling the moon since 2009. [Related: Top 10 Amazing Moon Facts]
Elephants' Big Debut
Three female Asian elephants recently made their public debut at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C. The elephant trio — Kamala, Swarna and Maharani — is on loan from the Calgary Zoo in Alberta, Canada.
The elephants arrived at the National Zoo on May 23, but spent 30 days in quarantine before being introduced to the public in late June. Kamala, Swarna (pictured here) and Maharani join the zoo's herd of four Asian elephants: females Ambika, Shanthi, Bozie and male Kandula. [Related: Elephant Images - The Biggest Beasts on Land]
Closeup of a Comet
Europe's Rosetta spacecraft made a historic rendezvous with a comet earlier this month. The probe arrived at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Aug. 6, flying about 251 million miles (450 million kilometers) away from Earth.
Rosetta's navigation camera snapped this photo on Aug. 11, at a distance of roughly 63 miles (102 kilometers) away from the comet. The comet nucleus measures about 2.5 miles (4 km) across, according to scientists at the European Space Agency. [Related: Europe's Rosetta Comet Mission in Pictures]
Sunrise Over Shenandoah
A "picture perfect" sunrise bathes Shenandoah National Park in warm light. This view, looking across Buck Hollow Overlook, was captured in July.
Shenandoah National Park, located in Virginia, encompasses more than 300 square miles (800 square kilometers). [Related: 8 Amazing National Park Structures]
An enlarged view of a jeweled beetle (Chrysina gloriosa). Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology, in Atlanta, examined the beetle's shell and found that the creature's shimmery iridescent colors are produced from liquid crystalline material that self-assembles into complex patterns of hexagons, pentagons and other polygonal shapes.
Studying the iridescent shells of jeweled beetles could yield new insights into liquid crystal technology, which is used in developing displays for laptop computers, televisions and a variety of other electronic devices. The research was published July 24 in the journal Science. [Related Gallery: Shimmering Metallic Beetles]