Corona from Svalbard

Corona from Svalbard

During a total solar eclipse, the Sun’s extensive outer atmosphere, or corona, is an inspirational sight.

corona

Explanation: During a total solar eclipse, the Sun’s extensive outer atmosphere, or corona, is an inspirational sight. Streamers and shimmering features that engage the eye span a brightness range of over 10,000 to 1, making them notoriously difficult to capture in a single photograph. But this composite of 29 telescopic images covers a wide range of exposure times to reveal the crown of the Sun in all its glory. The aligned and stacked digital frames were recorded in the cold, clear skies above the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, Norway during the Sun’s total eclipse on March 20 and also show solar prominences extending just beyond the edge of the solar disk. Remarkably, even small details on the dark night side of the New Moon can be made out, illuminated by sunlight reflected from a Full Earth. Of course, fortunes will be reversed on April 4 as a Full Moon plunges into the shadow of a New Earth, during a total lunar eclipse.

Thanks, as always, to the amazing NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day!

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The Big Dipper Enhanced

The Big Dipper Enhanced

Do you see it?

BigDipperEnhanced

(Image Credit & Copyright: VegaStar Carpentier)

Explanation: Do you see it? This common question frequently precedes the rediscovery of one of the most commonly recognized configurations of stars on the northern sky: the Big Dipper. This grouping of stars is one of the few things that has likely been seen, and will be seen, by every human generation. In this featured image, however, the stars of the Big Dipper have been digitally enhanced — they do not really appear this much brighter than nearby stars. The image was taken earlier this month from France. The Big Dipper is not by itself a constellation. Although part of the constellation of the Great Bear (Ursa Major), the Big Dipper is an asterism that has been known by different names to different societies. Five of the Big Dipper stars are actually near each other in space and were likely formed at nearly the same time. Relative stellar motions will cause the Big Dipper to slowly change its apparent configuration over the next 100,000 years.

Thanks, as always, to the amazing NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day!

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Aurora over Icelandic Glacier

Aurora over Icelandic Glacier

Hello, my little geeks and nerdlings!

Saw this image first thing this morning over at the NASA’s APOD website and my eyes popped open!

aurora-iceland-reflection[Image Credit & Copyright: James Boardman Woodend (Images Inspired by Nature)]

Explanation: Several key conditions came together to create this award-winning shot. These included a dark night, few clouds, an epic auroral display, and a body of water that was both calm enough and unfrozen enough to show reflected stars. The featured skyscape of activity and serenity appeared over Iceland‘s Vatnajökull Glacier a year ago January, with the Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon captured in the foreground. Aurora filledskies continue to be common near Earth’s poles as our Sun, near Solar Maximum, continues to expel energetic clouds of plasma into the Solar System.

Eye-popping. I love this kind of stuff. No, seriously. I love it!

If you haven’t made browsing the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day website part of your morning routine, I strongly urge you to do so. If nothing else, you’ll see some great photos and maybe gain a little perspective on your life.

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Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of Creation

Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of Creation

pillars-of-creation

[Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA)]

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.

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Credit, as always, goes to NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day! If you don’t already go to this site daily, make it a habit. You won’t be disappointed.

Over the Top

OVER THE TOP

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.

OverTheTop_Perrot(Image Credit: Luc Perrot)

 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.

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Thanks, as always, to NASA and their amazing Astronomy Picture of the Day site.

Bug Kaleidoscope

Given my interest in Entomology and Arachnology, you can imagine how pumped I was when I saw the photo below first thing this morning!

It looks to me like a bug kaleidoscope

Kaleidescope(Image: Fleur Alston)

Spring is here. Can the creepy crawlers be far off?

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