Amazing Volcanic Eruption With Northern Lights, Iceland
After hearing that the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano was erupting, photographer James Appleton made a journey to Iceland. Appleton managed to take these stunning photos of the volcano’s eruption while a light display of the aurora borealis (northern lights) filled the sky. His words express the experience best:
In 2010 I became aware of the volcanic activity on the Fimmvörðuháls mountain pass, on the side of Eyjafjallajökull. Having crossed the pass several times on previous trips to Iceland, I knew the area and that I would know my way around. Dealing with the severe winter conditions and obviously volatile situation would be something else. I am a strong believer that sometimes in life it is the risks we take that bring the greatest rewards, so with that in mind I booked flights, assembled my gear and headed out to Iceland. Arriving at night, I hitchhiked to the south coast and the start of the path up to the pass. Five days later I would return, physically and mentally exhausted, but with some of the greatest photographs I had ever taken and a pretty wide smile on my face.
Look Up! The Perseid Meteor Shower is Here
Skywatchers around the world are gearing up for the famous August Perseid meteor shower, which peaks August 11 through 13 and promises to be the best celestial fireworks show of the year.
The Perseids grace our skies when Earth plows into a stream of fragments—ranging in size from sand grains to boulders—left behind by a comet. These particles slam into the atmosphere at speeds of 100,000 miles (160,000 kilometers) per hour, causing the meteors to burn up in the upper atmosphere, which produces a momentary streak across the overhead skies known as a shooting star.
"As the Earth passes through the dust trail of comets, it encounters debris—some of which can be the size of grapefruit or larger—which [then] can cause fireballs," said Raminder Singh Samra, resident astronomer at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia. "The chances of seeing fireballs always increase when there is a strong meteor shower like this one," he added.
Expectations this year are particularly high for the Perseids because the waxing crescent moon will set early, allowing even the fainter meteors to be seen, explained Samra.
A Look Inside a Meteorite
Ever wonder what a meteorite looks like inside? These image were made in cross-polarized light, where a polarizer between the light source and the microscope slide is rotated. The beautiful effect, called birefringence, causes the colors of the crystals in the meteorite’s minerals to change, creating amazing colors, as the polarizer is rotated.
Astronomers and planetary geologists study meteorites in thin section to determine their material makeup. The colors and angles of refraction of the light through the crystals help identify the crystals. Some of the material inside meteorites are quite likely as old as, or older than, the Earth itself.
1,2) The Allende meteorites (named after a pueblito in Mexico called Allende where they fell in 1969) contain interstellar dust particles which are thought to be the oldest unaltered particles in our Solar System.
3) This meteorite is called NWA 4292 and was found in the Sahara Desert in Africa in 2005.
Deep Space, Deep in the Forest
The foreground is a several minute exposure… The stars alone (and the meteor) is a vertical panorama of 3 shots (stacked 5x for noise reduction)… The Galaxy is a stitched panorama, made of 8 sets of 5 photos each… Total of 57 combined.
The Sharpest View of The Sun
Here is one of the sharper views of the Sun ever taken. This stunning image shows remarkable details of a dark sunspot across the image bottom and numerous boiling granules which appear like kernels of corn across the top. Taken in 2002, the picture was made using the Swedish Solar Telescope operating on the Canary Island of La Palma.
Total Solar Eclipse
These stunning photographs of July 2009′s solar eclipse were taken by Miloslav Druckmüller, a mechanical engineering professor at Brno University of Technology, Czech Republic. The event was captured on Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands, an island country located in the northern Pacific Ocean.
This Year’s Largest Solar Flare
On April 11, 2013, at 3:16 a.m. EDT, the sun emitted an M6.5 flare, allowing NASA to capture this vibrant image. It’s not a particularly powerful solar flare, but it is the strongest of 2013 so far, and we’ll have plenty more opportunities to observe solar activity this year.