In case you missed it, this week’s supermoon was epic! On November 13 and 14, sky gazers were treated to the biggest and brightest supermoon in almost 70 years. A supermoon refers to a full moon that falls on a night when the moon is closest in its orbit around the Earth, making it appear almost 30% bigger.
We aren’t going to see another one this spectacular until 2034. Lucky for us, eager space lovers around the globe stopped to take pictures. Enjoy! 🌔
Adam Cairns, The Columbus Dispatch, Associated Press
David Carson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Associated Press
Adrian Dennis/AFP, Getty Images
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News, Associated Press
Aris Messinis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Credit Dean Lewins/European Pressphoto Agency
Jim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency
Gerard Julien/AFP, Getty Images
Miguel Morenatti/Associated Press
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It’s time to get up close and personal with Pluto’s dark, rugged highlands – informally named Krun Macula. (Krun is the lord of the underworld in the Mandaean religion, and a ‘macula’ is a dark feature on a planetary surface.).
This enhanced color view from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft zooms in on the southeastern portion of Pluto’s great ice plains. Krun Macula rises 1.5 miles above Pluto’s icy surface, and the craters that decorate it typically reach between 5 and 8 miles across!
The amazing image below was crafted using three separate observations made by New Horizons as it flew by Pluto in July 2015. It represents pieces of the highest and second-highest resolution observations gathered by the spacecraft.
Why does Pluto have that dark rust color? According to NASA, Pluto is believed to get its deep red color from tholins, complex molecules found across much of the surface.
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How incredible is this photo?? This galaxy is the universe’s version of a hot mess. Roughly a quarter of galaxies don’t take on any recognizable shape; they are known as irregular galaxies. Most galaxies rock a crazy spiral or elliptical structure – but not NGC 5408, which is located about 16 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Centaurus (The Centaur).
The photo above was taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Launched in 1990, Hubble has traveled over 3 billion miles around Earth, made 1.2 million observations, and snapped pics of locations more than 13.4 billion light years from our planet. I’ve collected a few amazing photos taken by Hubble. Enjoy! ✨
Hubble snapped this view of a colorful assortment of 100,000 stars residing in the crowded core of a giant star cluster. The image reveals a small region inside the massive globular cluster Omega Centauri. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
The graceful, winding arms of the majestic spiral galaxy M51 (NGC 5194) appear like a grand spiral staircase sweeping through space. They are actually long lanes of stars and gas laced with dust. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
This dramatic image offers a peek inside a cavern of roiling dust and gas where thousands of stars are forming. More than 3,000 stars of various sizes appear in this image of the Orion Nebula. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Saturn is seen here in ultraviolet light. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Composed of gas and dust, the pillar resides in a tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Butterfly Nebula (NGC 6302)! What resemble dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit – due to a dying star. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Hubble peered into a small portion of the nebula near the star cluster NGC 2074 in this 18th anniversary image. The region is a firestorm of raw stellar creation, perhaps triggered by a nearby supernova explosion. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
The Hubble Deep Field surveys will likely be thought of as Hubble’s most lasting science legacy. These observations continue to supply a wealth of understanding about the universe as a whole, Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
The starburst galaxy is remarkable for its bright blue disk, webs of shredded clouds, and fiery-looking plumes of glowing hydrogen blasting out of its central regions. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
This snapshot of MyCn18, a young planetary nebula, reveals that the object has an hourglass shape with an intricate pattern of “etchings” in its walls. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
We are witnessing history, people! NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has sent back the first in a series of the sharpest views of Pluto it snapped during its flyby in July. According to NASA, these are the best close-up images of Pluto we may see for decades.
The photo above is the highest-resolution image showing huge blocks of Pluto’s icy crust slammed together in the al-Idrisi mountains. The series of detailed images features a sequence taken near New Horizons’ closest approach to Pluto. These photos capture the beauty and diversity of Pluto’s terrain.
“The mountains bordering Sputnik Planum are absolutely stunning at this resolution,” said New Horizons science team member John Spencer of the Southwest Research Institute. “The new details revealed here, particularly the crumpled ridges in the rubbly material surrounding several of the mountains, reinforce our earlier impression that the mountains are huge ice blocks that have been jostled and tumbled and somehow transported to their present locations.”
With resolutions of about 250-280 feet (77-85 meters) per pixel, NASA was able to capture features less than half a city block wide on the surface. The sequence – which forms a strip 50 miles (80 kilometers) wide on a world 3 billion miles away – shows Pluto’s massive craters, mountains, ice fields and glaciers.
The New Horizons spacecraft transmits recorded data from its flight through the Pluto system on July 14th every week. Mission scientists expect to receive more amazing images of Pluto over the next few days.
Aren’t you excited to see what they find?
Layered Craters and Icy Plains. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI
Pluto’s ‘Badlands.’ Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft captured Pluto rotating over the course of a full “Pluto day.” Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI
Beads of sweat formed on my face the second I stepped out of the airport in Puerto Vallarta. It was 95 degrees and unbearably humid in Mexico, but my boyfriend and I were too excited to care. Our Airbnb host kindly set us up with a friend of hers – an English gentleman named Colin – to drive us through the jungle into Sayulita. The sleepy surfer town was smaller than I expected, nestled between lush green and bright blue water. Its charm was instantly undeniable. 🌴🌊
Our Airbnb was gorgeous. Sitting proudly atop Gringo Hill (yes, that’s the proper name), Casa Caracol consists of three casitas – each with an ocean view and access to a beautiful pool. We began our stay in the bottom unit, but due to some unexpected flooding during a surprise nighttime thunderstorm we ended up moving to the top unit to finish out our trip. We were the only people staying at Casa Caracol at the time so we felt like we had the whole property to ourselves!
So, speaking of being the only visitors at our Airbnb, and the intense heat, and the rain storms… my boyfriend and I decided to visit Sayulita during the off-season. Not by choice really, our vacation just fell during the end of August. Turns out, the city shuts down a bit from August-October due to extreme weather and lack of tourist cash flow. This ultimately worked in our favor. While a lot of restaurants and shops were closed, the ones that were open weren’t packed and we ended up receiving excellent service. That is most likely due to the fact that the locals are fairly kind – and also because we were clearly visiting with pesos to burn and a thirst for tequila.
Our apartment was a quick 5 minute walk to the city center and just a 10 minute walk to the beach. Once I saw the main beach in Sayulita I understood why it draws such huge crowds during the year. The water is warm, the surf is good, and the sand is full of shimmering gold flecks. There are roughly 4,000 people living in Sayulita, but during the peak-season (around December) the number of occupants in the city swells to roughly 40,000!
To wrap it up, we had the most relaxing vacation. We spent most days lounging on the beach eating Mexican fare and downing Pacificos. We went hiking, swam at the pool, and cooked meals at Casa Caracol – enjoying our ocean views at the top of Gringo Hill. We came across funny little land crabs, geckos, and a bunch of colorful butterflies. Because our cell phones were in airplane mode for the week we ended up reading a lot. My boyfriend read The Drifters for the third time. I went for the more macabre, reading a collection of short stories by Stephen King and Devil in the White City. We made friends, played cards, worked on our Spanish, and took time to appreciate the city’s laid back lifestyle.
Click here to see my favorite spots to eat and drink in Sayulita! 🍻🍴
Scientists were stunned after viewing the latest images from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. Not only is the surface of Pluto covered in large icy mountains, low-lying hazes, and streams of frozen nitrogen – it also looks eerily like the arctic.
The photo below was taken just 15 minutes after New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015. The spacecraft looked back toward the sun and caught this backlit panorama of Pluto’s rugged mountains and flat icy plains. The backlighting highlights over a dozen layers of haze in Pluto’s atmosphere. Trippy! 🌒
This new view offers a unique look at Pluto’s varied terrains and atmosphere. It was taken by New Horizons’ wide-angle Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC) on July 14 and downlinked to Earth on Sept. 13. Below is a close up of Pluto’s majestic icy mountains and flat glassy plains. It was taken at a distance of 11,000 miles.
“This image really makes you feel you are there, at Pluto, surveying the landscape for yourself,” said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado. “But this image is also a scientific bonanza, revealing new details about Pluto’s atmosphere, mountains, glaciers and plains.”
Let me quickly break down the geography of Pluto’s ‘heart.’ Sputnik Planum is the name of the smooth region on the left of the heart. The white upland region on the right may be coated in nitrogen ice that evaporated from the surface of Sputnik. The box shows the location of the glacier detail image below.
First place went to Anuar Patjane for his photo of divers swimming with a humpback whale and her newborn calf off the coast of Mexico. He won an eight-day photo expedition for two to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal. Not a bad deal!
The 2015 Traveler Photo Contest judges reviewed nearly 18,000 photographs, and ten pictures won top prizes. Photographers entered pictures into four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place, and Spontaneous Moments. You can view the top ten below – click here to browse all of the entries and pick your favorites!
2) [This] gravel-crush working place remains full of dust and sand. Three gravel workmen are looking through the window glass at their working place. Chittagong, Bangladesh. Photo and caption by faisal azim
3) Camel Ardah, as it [is] called in Oman, is one of the traditional styles of camel racing … between two camels controlled by expert men. Photo and caption by Ahmed Al Toqi
4) A sauna at 2,800 meters high in the heart of Dolomites. Monte Lagazuoi, Cortina, eastern Italian Alps. Photo and caption by Stefano Zardini
5) Romania, land of fairy tales. White frost over Pestera village. Photo and caption by Eduard Gutescu
6) The night before returning to Windhoek, we spent several hours at Deadvlei. The moon was bright enough to illuminate the sand dunes in the distance, but the skies were still dark enough to clearly see the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds. Photo and caption by Beth McCarley
7) The night before this photo, we tried all day to get a good photo of the endangered white rhino. Skulking through the grass carefully, trying to stay 30 feet away to be safe, didn’t provide me the photo I was hoping for. In the morning, however, I woke up to all three rhinos grazing in front of me. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Uganda. Photo and caption by Stefane Berube
8) Kushti is the traditional form of Indian wrestling. Wearing only a well-adjusted loincloth (langot), wrestlers (pelwhans) enter a pit made of clay, often mixed with salt, lemon, and ghee (clarified butter). Photo and caption by alain schroeder
9) Two boys are trying to catch a duck at the stream of the waterfall. Nong Khai Province, Thailand. Photo and caption by sarah wouters
10) Traditional haymaking in Poland. Many people continue to use the scythe and pitchfork to sort the hay. Photo and caption by Bartłomiej Jurecki
Icy mountains on Pluto and a new, crisp view of its largest moon, Charon, are among the several discoveries announced Wednesday by NASA’s New Horizons team, just one day after the spacecraft’s first ever Pluto flyby. Here is a collection of incredible photos that highlight just a few of NASA’s recent findings. Feel free to geek out – such an exciting time! 🚀
“Pluto New Horizons is a true mission of exploration showing us why basic scientific research is so important,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “The mission has had nine years to build expectations about what we would see during closest approach to Pluto and Charon. Today, we get the first sampling of the scientific treasure collected during those critical moments, and I can tell you it dramatically surpasses those high expectations.”
New close-up images of a region near Pluto’s equator reveal a giant surprise — a range of youthful mountains rising as high as 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) above the surface of the icy body. Credits: NASA/JHU APL/SwRI
Pluto’s tiny potato-shaped moon Hydra emerges from the shadows, revealing its irregularly shaped body characterized by significant brightness variations over the surface. Credit: NASA
Remarkable new details of Pluto’s largest moon Charon are revealed in this image from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), taken late on July 13, 2015 from a distance of 289,000 miles. Credit: NASA
The latest spectra from New Horizons Ralph instrument reveal an abundance of methane ice, but with striking differences from place to place across the frozen surface of Pluto. Credit: NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI
A portrait from the final approach. Pluto and Charon display striking color and brightness contrast in this composite image from July 11. Credits: NASA-JHUAPL-SWRI
This graphic presents a view of Pluto and Charon as they would appear if placed slightly above Earth’s surface and viewed from a great distance. Recent measurements obtained by New Horizons indicate that Pluto has a diameter of 2370 km, 18.5% that of Earth’s, while Charon has a diameter of 1208 km, 9.5% that of Earth’s. Credit: NASA
New Horizons Flight Controllers celebrate after they received confirmation from the spacecraft that it had successfully completed the flyby of Pluto, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 in the Mission Operations Center (MOC) of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Maryland. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Even President Obama got in on the Pluto action! Twitter: @POTUS
New Horizons has obtained impressive new images of Pluto and its large moon Charon that highlight their compositional diversity. These are not actual color images of Pluto and Charon—they are shown here in exaggerated colors. Image Credit: NASA/APL/SwRI
New Horizons spacecraft. Image/File credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/David Napolillo
Great white sharks are only cool when they are gnawing on someone else’s boat. This week, tourists on a South African shark-diving tour got the shock of their lives when they watched one great white take the bait next to their boat – just as a second great white leapt out of the water behind it! I knew sharks couldn’t take selfies, but apparently photo-bombing isn’t out of the question.
RemoSabatini posted the video below to YouTube on July 6, 2015.
In honor of this weeks gnarly shark footage I’d like to post a few amazing pics from Chris and Monique Fallows – who spend 200 days a year at sea.
Photographing great white sharks for 20 years gives Chris and Monique Fallows front row seats on the amazing behavior and secrets of formidable predators few people see. In this post they share ten of their favorite images of great whites.