Pic of the Day


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Thunderstorms almost spoiled this view of the spectacular 2011 June 15 total lunar eclipse. Instead, storm clouds parted for 10 minutes during the total eclipse phase and lightning bolts contributed to the dramatic sky.

Captured with a 30-second exposure the scene also inspired one of the more memorable titles…The lightning reference clearly makes sense, and the shadow play of the dark lunar eclipse was widely viewed across planet Earth in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. The picture itself, however, was shot from the Greek island of Ikaria at Pezi. That area is known as “the planet of the goats” because of the rough terrain and strange looking rocks.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Sergio Tapiro Velasco — Travel Photographer of the Year 2017


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❝ This image by Sergio Tapiro Velasco has won the 2017 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year contest. He has been photographing Mexico’s Colima volcano for more than a decade. To take this image, he carefully tracked increases in its activity. “When I looked on the camera display, all I could do was stare,” said Velasco. “It’s an impossible photograph and my once in a lifetime shot that shows the power of nature.”

Awe-inspiring. I’ve been taking photographs since I was 8 years old. Mostly capturing what I see and saving them for myself, sometimes for others, rarely for publication. Velasco is a master worth learning from. Here’s a link to his own site.

NASA Data Visualization Lets You Visit the Red Planet


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❝ Have you ever wished you could go to Mars without taking on the long-term commitment and risks associated with spaceflight? Now you can explore the surface of Mars without leaving the comfort of planet Earth, thanks to troves of imagery from NASA spacecraft and a cool data-visualization software called OpenSpace.

With OpenSpace, you can fly over Martian mountaintops and swoop through the deep canyons of Valles Marineris with the highest-resolution views from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), creating sort of a Google Earth for Mars. And that’s just the beginning; the makers of OpenSpace said they aim to ultimately map the entire known universe with dynamic and interactive visualizations created from real scientific data.

❝ Using data and images from the Context Camera (CTX) on MRO and the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, researchers have already mapped 90 percent of the Red Planet’s surface down to a resolution of about 20 feet (6 meters) per pixel. Incorporating high-resolution images from the spacecraft’s HiRISE camera (High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment), OpenSpace has allowed researchers to image parts of Mars down to a resolution of about 25 centimeters (10 inches) per pixel. That’s 24 times sharper than before.

Way cool. As close as I’m ever gonna get!