• The July 22nd total solar eclipse was the longest of the 21st century. From the point of maximum eclipse along the Moon’s shadow track across the Pacific Ocean, the Moon completely blocked the Sun for a total of 6 minutes and 39 seconds. But from the deck of this cruise ship the duration of the total eclipse phase was extended
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  • Was Devil’s Tower once an explosive volcano? Famous for its appearance in films such as Close Encounters, the origin of Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, USA is still debated, with a leading hypothesis holding that it is a hardened lava plume that probably never reached the surface to become a volcano. The lighter rock that once surrounded the dense volcanic neck
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  • Few auroras show this level of detail. Above, a standard digital camera captured a particularly active and colorful auroral corona that occurred last week above Alberta, Canada. With a shape reminiscent of a flower, the spectacular aurora had an unusually high degree of detail. The vivid green and purple auroral colors are caused by high atmospheric oxygen and hydrogen reacting
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  • What’s happening at the center of spiral galaxy NGC 1097? No one is sure, but it likely involves a supermassive black hole. Matter falling in from a bar of stars and gas across the center is likely being heated by an extremely energetic region surrounding the central black hole. From afar, the entire central region appears in the above false-color
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  • Most photographs don’t adequately portray the magnificence of the Sun‘s corona. Seeing the corona first-hand during a total solar eclipse is best. The human eye can adapt to see features and extent that photographic film usually cannot. Welcome, however, to the digital age. The above picture is a combination of thirty-three photographs that were digitally processed to highlight faint features
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  • Get out your red/blue glasses and check out this remarkable stereo view from lunar orbit. Created from two photographs (AS11-44-6633, AS11-44-6634) taken by astronaut Michael Collins forty years ago during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, the 3D anaglyph features the lunar module ascent stage, dubbed The Eagle, as it rises to meet the command module in lunar orbit. Aboard the
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  • The daytime sky grew dark, the temperature dropped, and lights came on as Chongqing, China, was plunged into the Moon’s shadow during the July 22nd total solar eclipse. This serene, wide-angle view of the event looks to the east over the large, populous city from a newly constructed park. Despite thin clouds, it captures the shimmering solar corona just before
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  • In July of 1994 pieces of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with planet Jupiter. The explosive impacts sent plumes of debris high into the Jovian atmosphere creating dark markings or scars, visible for a time against the cloud bands. Remarkably, 15 years later, another impact scar was discovered in the Jovian atmosphere by amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley as he examined images
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  • Stars are battling gas and dust in the Lagoon Nebula but the photographers are winning. Also known as M8, this photogenic nebula is visible even without binoculars towards the constellation of Sagittarius. The energetic processes of star formation create not only the colors but the chaos. The red-glowing gas, shown on the above left in re-assigned colors, results from high-energy
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  • One of the most identifiable nebulae in the sky, the Horsehead Nebula in >Orion, is part of a large, dark, molecular cloud. Also known as >Barnard 33, the unusual shape was first >discovered on a >photographic plate in the late 1800s. The red glow originates from hydrogen gas predominantly behind the nebula, ionized by the nearby bright star >Sigma Orionis.
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