Science Photo of the Week

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Offline neilep

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Gigagalaxy Zoom: Galactic Center
Credit: ESO / Stéphane Guisard - Copyright: Stéphane Guisard
[attachment=10029]


 From Sagittarius to Scorpius, the central Milky Way is a truly beautiful part of planet Earth's night sky. The gorgeous region is captured here, an expansive gigapixel mosaic of 52 fields spanning 34 by 20 degrees in 1200 individual images and 200 hours of exposure time. Part of ESO's Gigagalaxy Zoom Project, the images were collected over 29 nights with a small telescope under the exceptionally clear, dark skies of the ESO Paranal Observatory in Chile. The breathtaking cosmic vista shows off intricate dust lanes, bright nebulae, and star clusters scattered through our galaxy's rich central starfields. Starting on the left, look for the Lagoon and Trifid nebulae, the Cat's Paw, the Pipe dark nebula, and the colorful clouds of Rho Ophiuchi and Antares (right).
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Offline najmunajmudin

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hmmm.. thats great... [;D] [;D]

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Nasa telescope discovers largest-ever ring around Saturn... big enough to contain one billion Earths

By Daily Mail Reporter


Saturn's biggest and never-been-seen before ring has been discovered.

The 'super-sized' halo was found by Nasa's Spitzer Space Telescope. To get a sense of its size it has a vertical height which is about 20 times the diameter of the planet, which is nine times the size of our planet. Furthermore, the entire volume of the ring could hold about one billion Earths.

The bulk of the ring starts about 3.7million miles from Saturn itself and extends outward about another 7.4million miles.

With it being so huge many will ask how come it was not seen before. This is because the ring is extremely diffuse and doesn't reflect much visible light but its dusty particles, despite being very cold, shine with infrared light, or heat radiation which Spitzer is able to see.
The biggest but never-before-seen ring around Saturn



[attachment=10139]
King of the rings: This artist's illustration simulates an infrared view of the giant ring. Saturn appears as just a small dot within the band of ice and dust.
 The ring's diameter is equivalent to roughly 300 Saturns lined up side to side


Read more: http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1218675/NASA-telescope-discovers-largest-ring-Saturn.html#ixzz0TFesfiUJ
« Last Edit: 07/10/2009 13:18:06 by neilep »
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Great Observatories Explore Galactic Center
Credit: NASA, ESA, SSC, CXC, and STScI


[attachment=10531]

Biggy PIccy HERE

 Where can a telescope take you? Four hundred years ago, a telescope took Galileo to the Moon to discover craters, to Saturn to discover rings, to Jupiter to discover moons, to Venus to discover phases, and to the Sun to discover spots. Today, in celebration of Galileo's telescopic achievements and as part of the International Year of Astronomy, NASA has used its entire fleet of Great Observatories, and the Internet, to bring the center of our Galaxy to you. Pictured above, in greater detail and in more colors than ever seen before, are the combined images of the Hubble Space Telescope in optical light, the Spitzer Space Telescope in infrared light, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory in X-ray light. A menagerie of vast stars fields are visible, along with dense star clusters, long filaments of gas and dust, expanding supernova remnants, and the energetic surroundings of what likely is our Galaxy's central black hole. Many of these features are labeled on a complementary annotated image. Of course, a telescope's magnification and light gathering ability creates only an image of what a human could see if visiting these places. To actually go requires rockets.
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Offline neilep

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M78 Wide Field
Credit & Copyright: Thomas V. Davis (tvdavisastropix.com)



[attachment=10659]

 Interstellar dust clouds and glowing nebulae abound in the fertile constellation of Orion. One of the brightest, M78, is centered in this colorful, wide field view, covering an area north of Orion's belt. At a distance of about 1,500 light-years, the bluish reflection nebula is around 5 light-years across. Its tint is due to dust preferentially reflecting the blue light of hot, young stars. Reflection nebula NGC 2071 is just to the left of M78. To the right of M78 and much more compact in appearance, the intriguing McNeil's Nebula is a recently recognized variable nebula associated with the formation of a sun-like star. The remarkably deep exposure also brings out the region's faint but pervasive reddish glow of atomic hydrogen gas.
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All-Sky Milky Way Panorama
Credit & Copyright: Axel Mellinger (Central Mich. U)

[attachment=10661]

If you could go far away from the Earth and look around the entire sky -- what would you see? Such was the goal of the All-Sky Milky Way Panorama 2.0 project of Axel Mellinger. Presented above is the result: a digital compilation of over 3,000 images comprising the highest resolution digital panorama of the entire night sky yet created. An interactive zoom version, featuring over 500 million pixels, can be found here. Every fixed astronomical object visible to the unaided eye has been imaged, including every constellation, every nebula, and every star cluster. Moreover, millions of individual stars are also visible, all in our Milky Way Galaxy, and many a thousand times fainter than a human can see. Dark filaments of dust lace the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy, visible across the image center. The satellite galaxies Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are visible on the lower right
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Dust Sculptures in the Rosette Nebula
Credit & Copyright: John Ebersole

[attachment=10756]

Nice biggy piccy HERE

 What creates the cosmic dust sculptures in the Rosette Nebula? Noted for the common beauty of its overall shape, parts of the Rosette Nebula, also known as NGC 2237, show beauty even when viewed up close. Visible above are globules of dark dust and gas that are slowly being eroded away by the energetic light and winds by nearby massive stars. Left alone long enough, the molecular-cloud globules would likely form stars and planets. The above image was taken in very specific colors of Sulfur (shaded red), Hydrogen (green), and Oxygen (blue). The Rosette Nebula spans about 50 light-years across, lies about 4,500 light-years away, and can be seen with a small telescope towards the constellation of the Unicorn (Monoceros).
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Offline Eric A. Taylor

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"Residents of Tainan learned a lesson in whale biology after the decomposing remains of a 60-ton sperm whale exploded on a busy street, showering nearby cars and shops with blood and organs and stopping traffic for hours."

Source : MSNBC

[attachment=3410]

Links : Naked Scientists Radio Show coverage of this story 1st February 2004 http://www.thenakedscientists.com/html/shows/2004.02.01.htm


This is not the only exploding whale in history. It happened in 1970 on a beach in Oregon. Paul Lynnman can still be found as a radio talk show host in Portland. He stated that he and his camera man smelled so bad the pilot hired to fly them back to Portland refused to let them aboard his plane. Several videos can be seen on youtube. I liked the quote "The blast blew blubber beyond all believable bounds."
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A Graceful Arc
Credit & Copyright: Tony Hallas


[attachment=10945]

BIG PICCY HERE (It's worth it !)

 The graceful arc of the Milky Way begins and ends at two mountain peaks in this solemn night sky panorama. Created from a 24 frame mosaic, exposures tracking Earth and sky were made separately, with northern California's Mount Lassen at the left and Mount Shasta at the far right, just below the star and dust clouds of the galactic center. Lassen and Shasta are volcanoes in the Cascade Mountain Range of North America, an arc of the volcanic Pacific Ring of Fire. In the dim, snow-capped peaks, planet Earth seems to echo the subtle glow of the Milky Way's own faint, unresolved starlight.
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A Force from Empty Space: The Casimir Effect
Credit & Copyright: Umar Mohideen (U. California at Riverside)



[attachment=11002]

 This tiny ball provides evidence that the universe will expand forever. Measuring slightly over one tenth of a millimeter, the ball moves toward a smooth plate in response to energy fluctuations in the vacuum of empty space. The attraction is known as the Casimir Effect, named for its discoverer, who, 50 years ago, was trying to understand why fluids like mayonnaise move so slowly. Today, evidence is accumulating that most of the energy density in the universe is in an unknown form dubbed dark energy. The form and genesis of dark energy is almost completely unknown, but postulated as related to vacuum fluctuations similar to the Casimir Effect but generated somehow by space itself. This vast and mysterious dark energy appears to gravitationally repel all matter and hence will likely cause the universe to expand forever. Understanding vacuum fluctuations is on the forefront of research not only to better understand our universe but also for stopping micro-mechanical machine parts from sticking together.
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A Roll Cloud Over Uruguay
Credit & Copyright: Daniela Mirner Eberl


[attachment=11029]

PHEW !!


What kind of cloud is this? A roll cloud. These rare long clouds may form near advancing cold fronts. In particular, a downdraft from an advancing storm front can cause moist warm air to rise, cool below its dew point, and so form a cloud. When this happens uniformly along an extended front, a roll cloud may form. Roll clouds may actually have air circulating along the long horizontal axis of the cloud. A roll cloud is not thought to be able to morph into a tornado. Unlike a similar shelf cloud, a roll cloud, a type of Arcus cloud, is completely detached from their parent cumulonimbus cloud. Pictured above, a roll cloud extends far into the distance in 2009 January above Las Olas Beach in Maldonado, Uruguay.

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Offline Gert

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This is not the only exploding whale in history. It happened in 1970 on a beach in Oregon.

newbielink:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79tl2H3QzT0 [nonactive]

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Offline austinchan

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wow....

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Unusual Asteroid Tail Implies Powerful Collision
Credit: NASA, ESA, D. Jewitt (UCLA)


[attachment=11252]

 What is this strange object? First discovered on ground based LINEAR images on January 6, the object appeared unusual enough to investigate further with the Hubble Space Telescope last week. Pictured above, what Hubble saw indicates that P/2010 A2 is unlike any object ever seen before. At first glance, the object appears to have the tail of a comet. Close inspection, however, shows a 140-meter nucleus offset from the tail center, very unusual structure near the nucleus, and no discernable gas in the tail. Knowing that the object orbits in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, a preliminary hypothesis that appears to explain all of the known clues is that P/2010 A2 is the debris left over from a recent collision between two small asteroids. If true, the collision likely occurred at over 15,000 kilometers per hour -- five times the speed of a rifle bullet -- and liberated energy in excess of a nuclear bomb. Pressure from sunlight would then spread out the debris into a trailing tail. Future study of P/2010 A2 may better indicate the nature of the progenitor collision and may help humanity better understand the early years of our Solar System, when many similar collisions occurred.
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Cassini Spacecraft Crosses Saturn's Ring Plane
Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, ISS, JPL, ESA, NASA

[attachment=11356]


 If this is Saturn, where are the rings? When Saturn's "appendages" disappeared in 1612, Galileo did not understand why. Later that century, it became understood that Saturn's unusual protrusions were rings and that when the Earth crosses the ring plane, the edge-on rings will appear to disappear. This is because Saturn's rings are confined to a plane many times thinner, in proportion, than a razor blade. In modern times, the robot Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn now also crosses Saturn's ring plane. A series of plane crossing images from 2005 February was dug out of the vast online Cassini raw image archive by interested Spanish amateur Fernando Garcia Navarro. Pictured above, digitally cropped and set in representative colours, is the striking result. Saturn's thin ring plane appears in blue, bands and clouds in Saturn's upper atmosphere appear in gold. Since Saturn just passed its equinox, today the ring plane is pointed close to the Sun and the rings could not cast the high dark shadows seen across the top of this image, taken back in 2005. Moons appear as bumps in the rings.

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Offline RD

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Allegedly this a NASA image of Mars ...

[attachment=11358]

http://www.presidiacreative.com/21-unbelievable-photographs-of-mars/

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NGC 2440: Cocoon of a New White Dwarf
Credit: H. Bond (STScI), R. Ciardullo (PSU), WFPC2, HST, NASA




Like a butterfly, a white dwarf star begins its life by casting off a cocoon that enclosed its former self. In this analogy, however, the Sun would be a caterpillar and the ejected shell of gas would become the prettiest of all! In the above cocoon, the planetary nebula designated NGC 2440, contains one of the hottest white dwarf stars known. The white dwarf can be seen as the bright dot near the photo's center. Our Sun will eventually become a white dwarf butterfly but not for another 5 billion years. The above false color image was post-processed by Forrest Hamilton.
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Galaxy Group Hickson 31
Credit: NASA, ESA, J. English (U. Manitoba), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA);
Acknowledgement: S. Gallagher (U. Western Ontario)






 Will the result of these galactic collisions be one big elliptical galaxy? Quite possibly, but not for another billion years. Pictured above, several of the dwarf galaxies of in the Hickson Compact Group 31 are seen slowly merging. Two of the brighter galaxies are colliding on the far left, while an elongated galaxy above is connected to them by an unusual bridge of stars. Inspection of the above image further indicates that the bright duo trail a rope of stars pointing to the spiral galaxy on the far right. Most assuredly, the pictured galaxies of Hickson Compact Group 31 will pass through and destroy each other, millions of stars will form and explode, and thousands of nebula will form and dissipate before the dust settles and the final galaxy emerges about one billion years from now. The above image is a composite of images taken in infrared light by the Spitzer Space Telescope, ultraviolet light by the GALEX space telescope, and visible light by the Hubble Space Telescope. Hickson Compact Group 31 spans about 150 thousand light years and lies about 150 million light years away toward the constellation of Eridanus.
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Offline khaly

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hiiiiiii,

Science Photo Library picks an intriguing image from their collection each week. Here are some of the pictures they've recently selected. Proving that science can be fun, here's a thermogram of human flatulence. Intestinal gas (red, lower left) being expelled from the body. The gas shows up as red because it has recently been at body temperature, which is warmer than the surroundings


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M78 and Reflecting Dust Clouds in Orion
Credit & Copyright: Ignacio de la Cueva Torregrosa


[attachment=11489]
Super Big Piccy here

 An eerie blue glow and ominous columns of dark dust highlight M78 and other bright reflection nebula in the constellation of Orion. The dark filamentary dust not only absorbs light, but also reflects the light of several bright blue stars that formed recently in the nebula. Of the two reflection nebulas pictured above, the more famous nebula is M78, in the image center, while NGC 2071 can be seen to its lower left. The same type of scattering that colors the daytime sky further enhances the blue color. M78 is about five light-years across and visible through a small telescope. M78 appears above only as it was 1600 years ago, however, because that is how long it takes light to go from there to here. M78 belongs to the larger Orion Molecular Cloud Complex that contains the Great Nebula in Orion and the Horsehead Nebula.
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Centaurus A
Image Credit & Copyright: Tim Carruthers





Only 11 million light-years away, Centaurus A is the closest active galaxy to planet Earth. Spanning over 60,000 light-years, the peculiar elliptical galaxy, also known as NGC 5128, is featured in this sharp color image. Centaurus A is apparently the result of a collision of two otherwise normal galaxies resulting in a fantastic jumble of star clusters and imposing dark dust lanes. Near the galaxy's center, left over cosmic debris is steadily being consumed by a central black hole with a billion times the mass of the Sun. As in other active galaxies, that process likely generates the radio, X-ray, and gamma-ray energy radiated by Centaurus A.
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Evidence Mounts for Water on the Moon
Image Courtesy: George Dalisay

[attachment=11711]


In 2009, space missions revealed tantalizing signs of water on or near the lunar surface, once thought of as a dry and desolate environment. But researchers are now offering this archival picture as further evidence that humans might one day be able to use the Moon's newly discovered resource to directly quench their thirst. Found in a pile of old Apollo lunar surface photographs, the picture reveals an object at the far left of the frame that appears to be a drinking fountain, surprisingly close to one of the Lunar Module landing struts. When asked why no mention of the object was in their reports, the astronauts replied that they discovered their spacesuit gloves were too bulky to allow them to activate the fountain, so they had simply ignored it during their stay on the lunar surface. Perhaps not coincidentally, this picture was taken exactly 40 years ago, on April Fools Day ...
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Offline CBraston

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Love these photos! There is humor in all facets of life!

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Offline doorman711

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very nice photo [;D]

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<font size="4">Ultraviolet pictures hint at origin of Saturn's rings</font id="size4">

The best view ever of Saturn's rings in the ultraviolet indicates there is more ice toward the outer part of the rings, hinting at ring origin and evolution, say two University of Colorado at Boulder researchers involved in the Cassini mission.

<font size="1">From the inside out, the "Cassini division" in faint red at left is followed
by the A ring in its entirety. The A ring begins with a "dirty" interior of red
followed by a general pattern of more turquoise as it spreads away from the planet,
 which indicates denser material made up of ice. The red band roughly three-fourths of
the way outward in the A ring is known as the Encke gap.</font id="size1">

<font size="1">This image shows the outer C and inner B rings respectively from left to right,
 with the inner B ring beginning a little more than halfway across the image. The general pattern
is from "dirty" red particles to the denser ice shown in turquoise as the ringlets spread outward.</font id="size1">
The ring system begins from the inside out with the D, C, B and A rings followed by
the F, G and E rings. The red in both images indicates sparser ringlets likely made of "dirty," and possibly smaller, particles than in the denser,
 icier turquoise ringlets.

<u>SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM</u>

<font color="blue">'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'</font id="blue">

This is like a Optical Illusion.

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Offline neilep

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Full Moon Aureole Over Toronto

[attachment=12271]

Photographer: Andrew Yee
Summary Author: Andrew Yee


On December 1, 2009 as the full Moon ascended over Toronto, Canada, a layer of altostratus clouds moved in and produced a remarkable aureole. Water droplets in these clouds, perhaps along with ice crystals, scattered and diffracted the moonlight. The interference of the diffracted light waves formed the aureole, which sports a bluish inner ring and an orange-yellow outer ring.

A full Moon is so bright that normally an image showing rings or arcs about it would have the Moon itself overexposed. However, the cloud layer on this occasion was just thick enough to greatly reduce the brightness of the moonlight, offering an unusual opportunity to photograph the aureole and the full Moon in a single exposure.
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Islands of Four Mountains from Above

Credit & Copyright: Earth Observatory, NASA, Terra satellite, ASTER; Processing by: Jesse Allen & Robert Simmon
[attachment=12313]

 Our Earth is covered by volcanoes. Volcanoes are breaks in the Earth's cool surface where hot liquid rock from the interior comes out -- sometimes suddenly. In the above image from the ASTER camera aboard NASA's orbiting Terra satellite, snow-capped volcanoes are seen from overhead that compose the picturesque Islands of the Four Mountains in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, USA. The islands contain restless Mt. Cleveland, an active volcano currently being watched to see if it emits an ash cloud that could affect air travel over parts of North America. A close look at Mt. Cleveland, seen near the image center, shows a red rocky base, a white snow-covered peak, a light plume of gas and ash, and dark lanes where ash and debris fell or flowed. Millions of volcanoes have likely been active over the turbulent history of the Earth's surface, while about 20 volcanoes are erupting even today, at any given time.
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Microwave Milky Way
Credit: ESA, Planck HFI & LFI Consortia



[attachment=12418]

 Seen from our edge-on perspective, the Milky Way Galaxy sprawls across the middle of this false-color, all sky view. The expansive microwave map is based on 1 year's worth of data from instruments onboard the sky-surveying Planck spacecraft. Remarkably, the bright stripe of gas and dust clouds along the galactic plane and the galaxy's enormous arcing structures seen at microwave energies are hundreds or thousands of light-years away, while the mottled regions at the top and bottom represent the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation, some 13.7 billion light-years distant. Left over from the Big Bang, fluctuations in the CMB reflect the origins of structure in the evolving universe. Analyzing the microwave data, Planck scientists plan to separate the contributions of the Milky Way and CMB radiation. The work will ferret out the characteristics of the CMB across the entire sky and glean information about the make up of our Milky Way Galaxy.
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Offline FuzzyUK

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I took these pictures in the City of Cambridge, UK at 11pm on the evening of 9 July 2010, and the following morning at 3 am, of a magnificent display of Noctilucent clouds.




The BBC are running some experiments involving radar at 30 Mhz. John Rowlands recently explained on 'Material World' - Thu, 15 Jul 2010 of a possible pattern to these clouds.  (check the last 7 min of the program)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00t0g9w/Material_World_15_07_2010/

If correct, it is forecast that such clouds may be visible again tonight (19 July) in Northern latitudes

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Offline neilep

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FANTASTIC PHOTOS FUZZ !!
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The Crown of the Sun
Credit & Copyright: Alain Maury, Jean-Luc Dauvergne

[attachment=12468]


 During a total solar eclipse, the Sun's extensive outer atmosphere, or corona, is an inspirational sight. Subtle shades 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 7 consecutive digital images over a range of exposure times comes close to revealing the crown of the Sun in all its glory. The telescopic views were recorded from the Isla de Pascua (Easter Island) during July 11's total solar eclipse and also show solar prominences extending just beyond the edge of the eclipsed sun. Remarkably, features on the dim, near side of the New Moon can also be made out, illuminated by sunlight reflected from a Full Earth.
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fseoer2010

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i agree this idea:The green vegetable bug (Nezara viridula) is similar to the UK's native green shield bug (Palomena prasina), but is paler in colour and has a longer, narrower shape. Also, unlike its British cousin, the green vegetable bug has no brown markings.

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Spitzer glimpses into
Milky Way outback

DR EMILY BALDWIN
ASTRONOMY NOW



New images from the Spitzer Space Telescope survey GLIMPSE360 have revealed a treasure trove of gems scattered around the suburbs of the Milky Way, including some unexpectedly massive young stars.

The new survey is an extension of the original GLIMPSE (Galactic Legacy Infrared Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire) that focused on the Galaxy's bustling hub of stars and black hole embedded in the centre. Now the attention shifts to the suburbs, where the remaining half of the Milky Way's disc out to its edge will fall under scrutiny.

"It's like looking into the wilderness of our Galaxy," says Barbara Whitney, principal investigator for the survey. "While mapping the stars and dust out there, we hope to answer some major questions about an environment that is very different from the inner Milky Way."


Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/2MASS/B. Whitney (SSI/University of Wisconsin).

One of the questions to be answered is how stars can be born in these distal regions that have a lower concentration of star-forming ingredients than the centre of the Galaxy. For example, in the image above, star-forming region BG2107+49 hosts swarms of young stars in the making that are ten to twenty times the mass of our own Sun.



Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/2MASS/B. Whitney (SSI/University of Wisconsin).

The new images are permeated with a greenish mist that is rich in hydrogen and carbon compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs are found on the Earth in sooty vehicle exhausts and on charred grills, but in space, they lurk in dark clouds that spawn stars. Of course they are not really green, the colour is added to bring out the glow that is only visible in infrared wavelengths. One particular snap shot (above) is defined by the streaks of dust grains across the star in the upper left, that are likely aligned with the magnetic field of the star. Around the star that lies in the centre of the image, GL 490, several dense clumps of gas have been identified; these give away the locations of the youngest large stars that will help astronomers learn more about the earliest stages of massive star formation.


Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/2MASS/B. Whitney (SSI/University of Wisconsin).

In another image (above), an outflow of gas from a new star in a region known as IRAS 21078+5211 is seen ramming into the surrounding hydrogen gas to make it glow. The survey will help detail the structure of the outer Galaxy and try and determine where there Milky Way meets the void of intergalactic space.

GLIMPSE360 began last September and will continue through to the start of 2011, with data processing expected to take another year. Once the full survey is complete and combined with the previous GLIMPSE and GIMPSE3D data, it will provide a 360 degree field-of-view of the Galaxy, ranging in height from 2.7 degrees to 8.4 degrees at the centre.

"We look forward to what GLIMPSE360 will show us," Whitney says. "The adventure is just getting started."
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ISS, Moon, Planets, and Pyramids

Photographer: Aymen Ibrahem
Summary Author: Aymen Ibrahem; Jim Foster


[attachment=12599]

The photo above showing the International Space Station (ISS), the waxing Moon and several planets parading across the summer sky was captured from the Plateau of Giza, Egypt on July 16, 2010. Venus, just above the Second Pyramid (Chephren), is the brightest object other than the nearly half lit Moon. Saturn is above and to the right of the Moon, and coppery Mars lies in between Venus and Saturn. All are in the plane of the ecliptic, which happens to be almost perpendicular to the side face of Chephren. For a few days after this photo was taken, these three planets were in very close proximity to one another in the western sky. Note that the Sphinx and pyramids are bathed in blue and green light as part of nightly laser displays.
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Offline neilep

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The Blazing Beauty of the Small Magellanic Cloud & Beyond

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At the remote outskirts of the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy some 200 thousand light-years distant, lies the young 5-million-year-old star cluster NGC 602, surrounded by natal gas and dust. Fantastic ridges and swept back shapes strongly suggest that energetic radiation and shock waves from NGC 602's massive young stars have eroded the dusty material and triggered a progression of star formation moving away from the cluster's center. At the estimated distance of the Small Magellanic Cloud, the picture spans about 200 light-years, including a cosmic assortment of background galaxies hundreds of millions of light-years or more beyond.


Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA) - ESA/Hubble Collaboration
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Offline neilep

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SPOTTED LAKE
Photographer: Chris Gozdzik
Summary Author: Chris Gozdzik; Jim Foster




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The photo above shows enigmatic Spotted Lake near Osoyoos, British Columbia. It could also be called "Doubletake Lake" since that's likely what many people do when they witness this odd body of "water." Its spots result from a high concentration of a number of different minerals, including magnesium sulfate, calcium and sodium sulfates. At least a dozen other minerals are found in the lake's water in varying concentrations. By late summer, much of the water evaporates and only a mineral stew remains. It's primarily crystals of magnesium sulfate that contributes to the spotty appearance. Different minerals yield different colors. Spotted Lake was once sacred to Indian tribes in the area, perhaps because the high mineral content had therapeutic qualities. Photo taken on August 8, 2009.
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Layered Hills in Arabia Terra on Mars
Credit: MSSS, JPL, NASA


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 Why are some hills on Mars so layered? The answer is still under investigation. Clearly, dark windblown sand surrounds outcropping of light sedimentary rock across the floor of crater Arabia Terra. The light rock clearly appears structured into many layers, the lowest of which is likely very old. Although the dark sand forms dunes, rippled dunes of lighter colored sand are easier to see surrounding the stepped mesas. Blown sand possibly itself eroded once-larger mesas into the layered hills. Most of the layered shelves are wide enough to drive a truck around. The above image, showing an area about 3 kilometers across, was taken in 2003 October by the now defunct Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft orbiting Mars.
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SURF & SAND

Photographer: Konstantinos Christodoulopoulos
Summary Author: Konstantinos Christodoulopoulos; Jim Foster



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The photo above showing surf and sand in the Corinthian Gulf, near Corinth, Greece was captured on August 4, 2010. If you plan to visit the beach before summer ends (in the Northern Hemisphere), try to examine the swash zone; the part of the beach between high tide and low tide. Though this area is inhabited mostly by organisms too small to easily notice, it's teeming with life. A number of creatures, sand crabs for example, can be seen scurrying about. Like most of the inhabitants here they depend on the swashing of the waves to provide them sustenance. In addition, the swash zone is a feeding ground for numerous shore birds, and sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand above high tide.
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TWO SUNS ?
Photographer: Jane Shively
Summary Author: Jane Shively; Jim Foster


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The photo above looks like it could have been taken from a planet in a solar system having twin suns; though, it was snapped from a back yard in northern Ohio. Can you tell which is the real Sun and which is a fraud? Hint: Our constant companion is a little less showy. The true Sun is at left, and at right is a sundog. Sundogs or parhelia can be amazingly bright at times. They're found on either side of the Sun, at the same altitude, but 22 degrees away from it. Sundogs form when sunlight is refracted through oriented, hexagonal (plate-shaped) ice crystals in cirrus clouds. Sunlight enters one of the crystal's side faces and exits through an alternate side face -- refracted 22 degrees from the angle it entered. When the Sun is low is the sky, sundogs are at their brightest. On this day, it's likely that a combination of the Sun being dimmed by cloud cover and ice crystals having almost the same orientation, accounted for the near similar brightness of the Sun and its mocking sidekick.
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Offline LeeE

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Nice pic - I've never actually seen a sundog and that's quite a good one.  You can just make out the red fringe on the sundog, giving it away and showing how it's related to rainbows.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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Nice pic - I've never actually seen a sundog and that's quite a good one.  You can just make out the red fringe on the sundog, giving it away and showing how it's related to rainbows.

Thanks LeeE ...well spotted....re: the red fringe !
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Chapel Creek at Pictured Rocks



Photographer: Rick Faber
Summary Author: Rick Faber; Jim Foster


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The photo above shows the tannin stained waters of Chapel Creek draining into the aquamarine waters of Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Both the creek water and the waters of Lake Superior are fresh. Rather than randomly spilling into the lake and being immediately diluted, the stained water continued east close to the shoreline for a significant distance. Since the lake water was fairly calm it took a while, perhaps half a mile (one km) or more, before the mixing was complete. Currents perhaps contributed to the limited mixing, and additionally, a slight onshore breeze at the time the picture was snapped could have further constrained the potential for commingling. In South America, the sediment laden waters of the Rio Solimoes run side-by-side the clearer but black appearing waters of the Rio Negro for more than three and a half miles (6 km) before obvious mixing occurs.
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Offline LeeE

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Any explanation of where the tannin is coming from?  Although I doubt it does any harm I would have thought that it would be regarded as pollution (and if tannin is getting into the creek system then it's possible that more harmful substances could too).
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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Any explanation of where the tannin is coming from?  Although I doubt it does any harm I would have thought that it would be regarded as pollution (and if tannin is getting into the creek system then it's possible that more harmful substances could too).

Thanks LeeE...sorry for the delayed reply. Unfortunatley no source for the tannin is indicated !..sorry.
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Summer Storm, Lightning and Rainbow


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Photographer: Jens Hackmann;  Jen's Website
Summary Author: Jens Hackmann; Jim Foster



The photo above shows a muted double rainbow arching over a freshly cut grain crop, punctuated by intense lightning. It was snapped near Bad Mergentheim in southern Germany in the late afternoon of July 12, 2010. The camera is directed at the rainbow (antisolar point), and while the Sun has broken through in the west, the west-to-east moving thunderstorm has darkened the eastern sky and still packs a punch. Even after a seemingly innocuous thunderstorm has passed by, lightning can still pose a serious threat. It's best to stay in a protected area until you can no longer hear thunder.
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Full Moon Over Mount Rainier
September 09, 2010




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Photographer: Sally Budack
Summary Author: Sally Budack; Jim Foster



The above photo shows the full Moon of July 24, 2010 centered directly above the ever picturesque Mount Rainier, Washington. It was taken just before sunset some 50  miles (80  km) away in Tacoma, Washington. This snow capped composite, or stratovolcano, stands 14,411 feet (4,392 m) above sea level towering above its surroundings. It is the loftiest summit in the Cascade Range. When the Moon is near the horizon, it seems to appear larger to us than when it resides higher in the sky. This is an illusion, however. It's no bigger when perched on the horizon than when overhead. What's different is that at the horizon the Moon has a point of reference, and our brain processes visual information into a spatial reference frame.
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Offline mbtshoes2011

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These materials, icy dust particles coated with water, methanol and carbon dioxide, may help explain the origin of icy planetoids like comets. Scientists believe these comets may have endowed Earth with some of its water and many of its biogenic, life-enabling materials.

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Offline Sliter

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Any explanation of where the tannin is coming from?  Although I doubt it does any harm I would have thought that it would be regarded as pollution (and if tannin is getting into the creek system then it's possible that more harmful substances could too).

Thanks LeeE...sorry for the delayed reply. Unfortunately no source for the tannin is indicated !..sorry.

The tannins are naturally occurring in many rivers of the Upper Pennisula of Michigan.  They come from Spruce, Cedar and Hemlock trees and from decaying leaves.  Tannins are also found in tea, and that is why the river and tea have the same color.  As a side note; one of the first industries of the area was tanning leather.  The tannins from the bark of Hemlock trees were used to tan leather in the early 1900's in nearby Munising, Michigan. 

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The Dancing Auroras of Saturn
Credit: VIMS Team, JPL, ESA, NASA



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What drives auroras on Saturn? To help find out, scientists have sorted through hundreds of infrared images of Saturn taken by the Cassini spacecraft for other purposes, trying to find enough aurora images to correlate changes and make movies. Once made, some movies clearly show that Saturnian auroras can change not only with the angle of the Sun, but also as the planet rotates. Furthermore, some auroral changes appear related to waves in Saturn's magnetosphere likely caused by Saturn's moons. Pictured above, a false-colored image taken in 2007 shows Saturn in three bands of infrared light. The rings reflect relatively blue sunlight, while the planet itself glows in comparatively low energy red. A band of southern aurora in visible in green. Inspection of many more Saturnian images may well lead to an even better understanding of both Saturn's and Earth's auroras.
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An Airplane in Front of the Moon
Credit & Copyright: Chris Thomas


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If you look closely at the Moon, you will see a large airplane in front of it. Well, not always. OK, hardly ever. But if you wait for days with your camera attached to a Moon tracker in a place where airplanes are known to pass, you might catch a good photograph of it. Well, if you're lucky. OK, extremely lucky. The above image was taken two weeks ago over South East Queensland, Australia using an exposure time of 1/250th of a second and, in the words of the photographer, "a nerve of steel".
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