This takes some serious rigor to get shots like this. Titled “Tempest Milky Way”, Randy Halverson’s masterpiece won Best Overall at the 2011 Chronos Film Festival.
Incredible photo by “ESA/A. Kumar & E. Bondoux”
This HUGE storm – as in the width of the storm is as large as the Earth – was captured by the Cassini spacecraft (yet again another brilliant photo from Cassini). Isn’t it amazing how illustrative the storm is? You can clearly how the storms seems to be “flowing” as well as the eddies on the edge of the storm. Lightning has even been spotted in this storm!
The recent solar flare has been lighting up the night skies with beautiful aurora. This photo by Goldpaint Photography displays the brilliant purple aurora behind a background of mountains. Not to mention the cool reflection pool, too. A great work of photography!
Excellent shot by Doug Kiesling in Saint Cloud, MN this July. On the left of the photo is the faint aurora in pink while on the right of the photo you can see Jupiter, Venus, and Pleiades, a cluster of young stars. By young I mean 100 million years old.
Sun spots are areas on the surface of the sun of extreme magnetic activity. Very large ones have been known to cause significant solar storms and this one is quite large. You can see the “swirling” effect in the photo caused by the strong magnetic field lines much like those that you can observe when you use a magnet to align particles of graphite.
Here’s an interesting fact: The “black” spot on the sun is about as bright as a full moon. It’s only dark because the photos are taken with settings to make them stand out against the extremely bright background.
The black and white photo gives you a great sense of depth. These sun spots are 120,000 miles in width. Yeah, about halfway to the moon. No big deal.
A quick measurement shows both are about 200,000 kilometers (120,000 miles) across – fifteen times the width of the Earth! If one end were placed on Earth, it would stretch halfway to the Moon.
Titan, one of Saturn’s most interesting moons, has yet another mystery: a giant vortex on it’s south pole. Cassini spotted the vortex on June 27th, 2012. There are similar phenomena that occur on Earth that are associated with the changing of the seasons, but this vortex is especially interesting because it extends very high into the atmosphere.
the structure inside the vortex is reminiscent of the open cellular convection that is often seen over Earth’s oceans,” said Tony Del Genio, a Cassini team member at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, N.Y. “But unlike on Earth, where such layers are just above the surface, this one is at very high altitude, maybe a response of Titan’s stratosphere to seasonal cooling as southern winter approaches. But so soon in the game, we’re not sure.”
I love the pictures from the NASA Cassini mission. This one is especially interesting because it displays the gravitational effects that Saturn’s moons have on its rings. You can see that it almost has a ripple effect as if it were flowing through a liquid.
Saturn’s moons Daphnis and Pan demonstrate their effects on the planet’s rings in this view from the Cassini spacecraft.