Solar Activity In Still Images 

Is it the #Sun, or a cell? These amazing images of the Sun, captured by Alan Friedman, show in great detail last week’s intense solar activity, when the Sun was sprinkled with large spots and prominences, which appear in the photos as dark spots. Sunspots are temporary events, caused by intense magnetic activity, forming areas of reduced surface temperature. They usually appear as pairs, with each sunspot heaving the opposite magnetic pole to the other.
Sunspots expand and contract as they move across the surface of the Sun and can be as small as 16 kilometers and as large as 160,000 kilometers (100,000 mi) in diameter, making the larger ones visible from Earth without the aid of a telescope. They may also travel at relative speeds of a few hundred meters per second when they first emerge onto the solar photosphere.

Compared to last week’s intense solar activity, this week’s sun is almost blank, with low activity and a quiet solar disk.

Bodyscapes 

Photographer and artist John Poppleton paints fantastic sceneries inspired by nature, directly on human bodies, using fluorescent materials, and then he photographs the canvases under UV light, obtaining dream like sceneries. 

“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” 
― C.G. Jung

 The Red Book, a.k.a. Liber Novus: A Window Into Jung’s Dreams

First Photos of the April 29, 2014, Solar Eclipse 


A partial solar eclipse took place earlier this morning, in Australia, where viewers were able to catch the “crescent” sun setting. The peak of the eclipse, which was “a ring of fire” annular eclipse, happened above an uninhabited area of Antarctica, so no one witnessed it. These are some of the first photos snapped by the lucky stargazers who witnessed the dramatic event:
 

 

In ancient Greece the study of astronomy was linked to the same physical principles as musical harmony.  For example, many Greek thinkers believed that each of the planets and stars created their own unique sound as they traveled through the cosmos, thrumming like an enormous guitar string light-years long.
From the TED-Ed Lesson Music and creativity in Ancient Greece - Tim Hansen
Animation by Together

 

In ancient Greece the study of astronomy was linked to the same physical principles as musical harmony.  For example, many Greek thinkers believed that each of the planets and stars created their own unique sound as they traveled through the cosmos, thrumming like an enormous guitar string light-years long.

From the TED-Ed Lesson Music and creativity in Ancient Greece - Tim Hansen

Animation by Together

Amazing landscape photography by Mark Adamus. Read the captions.

2014 Underwater Photography Photo Contest winner, Wide Angle/Natural Light (no strobe) category, 3rd place. Photo by Shane Gross

2014 Underwater Photography Photo Contest winner, Wide Angle/Natural Light (no strobe) category, 3rd place. Photo by Shane Gross

#Pluto and its moon #Charon, two very fascinating presences in the Solar System. Here are some interesting facts about them:

* Some astronomers call Pluto and Charon a “double planet”. Charon is almost half the size of Pluto, and the distance between them is 19,640 km (12,200 miles).

* Because Pluto and Charon are tidally locked to each other, Charon appears to stand still in Pluto’s sky and the same sides of Pluto and Charon always face each other.

* Every 124 years, for several years it is mutual-eclipse season, when Pluto and Charon each eclipse the Sun for the other, at intervals of 3.2 days.

* For 20 years of its almost 248-year orbit, Pluto is closer to the Sun than Neptune because of its off-center and highly inclined orbit. From 1979 to 1999, Pluto was the eighth planet and Neptune was the ninth. Now Pluto is back to being the ninth planet (though dwarf), and it will be closer to the Sun again on April 5, 2231.c

* Pluto actually has three moons. Charon is the largest. Nix and Hydra are the other two.

* A person who weighs 45 kg on Earth would weigh only 3 kg on Pluto.

* Like Uranus and Venus, Pluto spins in the opposite direction as Earth, which means the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east.

* 248 Earth years is the time that Pluto takes to orbit around the Sun. Charon’s orbit around Pluto takes 6.4 Earth days, and one Pluto rotation (a Pluto day) takes 6.4 Earth days, so the sun rises and sets once a week

* Pluto’s distance from the Sun is from 4.4 to 7.4 billion kilometers. Light takes between from 4.1 hours and 6.8 hours to travel from the Sun to Pluto. Yet, the Sun is still very bright, giving roughly 150 to 450 times the light of the full Moon from Earth.

* While Pluto was downgraded from a planet to a dwarf planet, or “plutoid,” several astronomers argued that Pluto and other small objects similar to Pluto should all be classified as planets because they have cores, geology, seasons, moons, atmospheres, clouds, and polar caps in many cases.

Planetary Alignment Tonight: Mars, Earth and the Sun

A rare celestial events occurs tonight, when Mars, Earth and the Sun will align in a straight line. For the fortunate sky gazers who live outside the city, the event would be directly observable around sunset, when the Sun will set in the west, in the constellation of Pisces, and Mars will rise in the opposite direction, in the east, in the Virgo constellation, around the same time. Mars and the Sun are on directly opposite sides of the Earth, or ‘at opposition’, an event which happens every 26 months.

The closer a planet is to the Sun, the faster it moves on the orbit. Compared to Mars, Earth is closer to the Sun, hence it takes a shorter time to complete one orbit around the star. To put it more simple: Earth makes two trips around the Sun in about the same amount of time that Mars takes to make one trip. Sometimes the two planets are on opposite sides of the Sun, very far apart, and other times, Earth catches up with its neighbor and passes relatively close to it. If Earth and Mars would move along perfect circles, once in 780 days, Mars would be in the same position, regarding to Earth. But because we move on elliptical orbits - and Mars even more than Earth - in 6 days, on April 14, same night when the Moon eclipse will happen, Mars will be even closer to Earth than it is now.

Around these weeks you can view Mars for the entire night, in the Virgo constellation. It rises at sunset and sinks into the other hemisphere at sunrise. Its color is bright red and it outshines all the other stars in the night sky. Through binoculars you can even distinguish some of its most prominent features, but don’t expect to see its moons, Phobos and Deimos, which are visible only through powerful telescopes.

For those who can not witness the opposition through their own eyes, there are several sites which provide live streaming: http://events.slooh.com/stadium/mars-opposition, or http://www.virtualtelescope.eu/webtv/.

NASA’s 3 minutes video on the opposition of Mars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xngUpUyyT70

The Moon, Jupiter & The Winter Circle | Mars & Saturn

Tonight, as darkness falls, the Moon and Jupiter will lie in the sky very close to each other, in the constellation Gemini the Twins.
The Moon is almost half-lit, while Jupiter is the most brilliant ‘star’ in the sky. The Moon takes 27.3 days to complete its sidereal orbit, so it stays for about 2.5 days in each of the twelve zodiacal constellation, while Jupiter, which completes an orbit around the Sun every 12 years, spends about one year in each constellation.
The two celestial bodies will be in the midst of the Winter Circle, or Winter Hexagon asterism, formed by the most dazzling winter stars: Capella (Auriga), Castor (Gemini), Pollux (Gemini), Procyon (Canis Minoris), Sirius (Orion), Rigel (Orion) and Aldebaran (Taurus).

A very red Mars rises in the East, in the constellation of the Virgo, and is soon followed by Saturn, which resides in the Libra segment. In two days, on April 8, the Sun, Earth and Mars will be on a straight line, with the Earth in the middle. This event happens once in a Mars synodic period (780 days), and it is called Mars-Earth opposition. When Mars is at opposition, it is in the middle of its retrograde loop and the distance between the two planets will be relatively small; its disk appears larger and it has a negative magnitude. This is the most favorable time for viewing Mars.

For the entire month of April, Mars will stay bright and big in the sky, from dusk till down, but circle the night of Tuesday, April 8, when the Earth will be closer to Mars than it has come for almost six-and-a-half years.

allstarsandconstellations:

It’s spring, the season of #sakura, a sight which I hope you all enjoy. The japanese term “sakura” means cherry blossom, or the flower of any of several trees of genus Prunus. Sakura have long been revered in Japan, with the practice of holding cherry blossom viewing parties, or hanami, said to date back to at least the 8th century. As such, many of the most beautiful specimens have been lovingly cared for over hundreds of years. A few reach an even more advanced age, such as the Miharu Takizakura, which is over 1,000 years old.

Cherry blossoms also symbolize an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life, an aspect of Japanese cultural tradition that is often associated with Buddhistic influence, and which is embodied in the concept of ‘mono no aware’, meaning the awareness of impermanence, literally “the pathos of things”, and also translated as “an empathy toward things”, or “a sensitivity to ephemera”.

allstarsandconstellations:

#Jellyfish come from #space!

These out of this world images, that capture the breathtaking beauty and mystery of our planet’s sea life, prove that “the surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean.”

Their author, Alexander Semenov, is a zoologist specialized in the study of invertebrate animals. While his career has led him around the world, many of the shots in his portfolio (and below) are from his work at the WSBS which is located near the Polar Circle on the coast of Kandalaksha Bay of the White Sea.

The location is remote and the waters are frigid but the biological diversity speaks for itself. Many of the creatures he captures are rare and uncommon so his work has a tremendous value.

allstarsandconstellations:

#Hybrids: The deep #ocean - #space connection

Photos & manipulations by Alexander Semenov

Cherry Blossom Galaxy by Masahiro Miyasaka

El Castillo, at Chichen Itza, last year, on the spring equinox day. Unfortunately, due to the cues at the entrance, I didn’t catch the the illusion of the feathered serpent crawling down El Castillo pyramid, but being there on such a day felt amazing.