Explanation:To celebrate 25 years (1990-2015) of exploring the Universe from low Earth orbit, the Hubble Space Telescope’s cameras were used to revisit its most iconic image. The result is this sharper, wider view of the region dubbed the Pillars of Creation, first imaged by Hubble in 1995. Stars are forming deep inside the towering structures. The light-years long columns of cold gas and dust are some 6,500 light-years distant in M16, the Eagle Nebula, toward the constellation Serpens. Sculpted and eroded by the energetic ultraviolet light and powerful winds from M16’s cluster of young, massive stars, the cosmic pillars themselves are destined for destruction. But the turbulent environment of star formation within M16, whose spectacular details are captured in this Hubble visible-light snapshot, is likely similar to the environment that formed our own Sun.
Explanation: Solar active region AR2192 was the largest recorded sunspot group of the last 24 years. Before rotating off the Earth-facing side of the Sun at the end of October, it produced a whopping six energetic X-class flares. Its most intense flare was captured on October 24 in this stunning view from the orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory. The scene is a color combination of images made at three different wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light; 193 angstroms shown in blue, 171 angstroms in white, and 304 angstroms in red. The emission, from highly ionized Iron and Helium atoms, traces magnetic field lines looping through the hot plasma of the Sun’s outer chromosphere and corona. Beneath, the cooler solar photosphere appears dark at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths. The exceptionally sharp composite image has been processed with a new mathematical algorithm (NAFE) that adapts to noise and brightness in extreme ultraviolet image data to reliably enhance small details.
Personal sidenote: I was recently invited to the home of some very dear friends. I love going there. Their generosity and hospitality to me over the years is truly overwhelming. During the evening, I had the rare opportunity (i.e. profound misfortune) of running into someone I’d met there once or twice before. This person holds a black belt in Conspiracy Theories. This person is convinced of their intellectual and moral superiority. This person is also an insufferable Know-It-All. This person is, in short, an colossal bore. I smiled. I nodded. I tried not to stick a fork into the person’s neck.
SOOOO… imagine by delight when I came across Crispian Jago’s invaluable chart this morning! I hope, my little geeks and nerdlings, that you have as much fun with it as I did!
Where Everybody Drinks Your Blood: True Blood Meets Cheers
BY EVA HALLOWEEN JULY 15, 2014 CHEERS FUNNY TRUE BLOOD VAMPIRES VIDEOS WIL WHEATON
From the deliciously geeky minds of Wil Wheaton and friends comes this charmingly ribald mash-up of True Blood with seminal 80′s sitcom Cheers. It’s one part time capsule, two parts “wow, there’s been a lot of smutty, smutty gore on True Blood.” Although I’m not caught up and have heard that the latest season has not only jumped over the shark but also started eating it, I’m reminded that the show might still have some gloriously trashy redeeming value after all.
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From the deliciously geeky minds of Wil Wheaton and friends comes this charmingly ribald mash-up of True Bloodwith seminal 80’s sitcom Cheers. It’s one part time capsule, two parts “wow, there’s been a lot of smutty, smutty gore on True Blood.” Although I’m not caught up and have heard that the latest season has not only jumped over the shark but also started eating it, I’m reminded that the show might still have some gloriously trashy redeeming value after all.
Explanation: The central bulge of our Milky Way Galaxy rises above a sea of clouds in this ethereal scene. An echo of the Milky Way’s dark dust lanes, the volcanic peak in foreground silhouette is on France’s Réunion Island in the southern Indian Ocean.
Taken in February, the photograph was voted the winner of the 2014 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest’s Beauty of the Night Sky Category. This and other winning and noteable images from the contest were selected from over a thousand entries from 55 countries around planet Earth. Also featured in the contest compilation video (vimeo), the moving images are a testament to the importance and beauty of our world at night.