The Rare “Zodiacal Light”
Photographer Justin Ng captures a rare sight in a gorgeous time-lapse video taken over the volcanoes surrounding Mt. Bromo. Here’s the full video:
As the Milky Way comes into view, a diffuse, glowing triangle becomes apparent even though the sun is far below the horizon. In the photo below, by Ng, you’ll notice that the glowing triangle contains the planets Venus, Saturn, and Mercury:
This is sunlight, reflected from below the horizon, bouncing off of faint dust that lingers in our solar system’s planetary disk, the zodiacal plane itself. This so-called “zodiacal light" is the result of leftover debris from the formation of the planets, light so faint that even moonlight will obscure it.
This is what’s left from the birth of our home and its neighbors, glowing in the springtime night. Wow.
Edgar Martins’ photos from inside European Space Agency facilities, including this moon rock immobilized in acrylic and an anechoic chamber, are simply beautiful.
NASA, you gotta step up your retrofuturistic photo game!
Check out many more at Fast Company.
(Not all of the photos feature pointy pyramids)
Roll Them Bones
These amazing posed skeleton portraits of Patrick Gries breathe life back into stacks of bones.
Through a combination of careful photography with digital editing, Gries was able to breathe action into 300 of the Paris Museum of Natural History’s skeleton specimens (the bones are his, I added the actual photos to show how freakin’ amazing they are).
All (vertebrate) creatures great and small, no matter their shape, no matter than evolutionary history … they all have bones.
Crescent Moon and Crescent Venus
Spooky clouds and shadowy contrails divide this image of our moon at extreme crescent, and Venus showing the same cookie-like shape.
Why does Venus show phases? It orbits the sun, same as any of us. This image explains it well (via Wikipedia):
(Photo above by Christoph Malin via APOD)
12 month solargraph, winter solstice to winter solstice.
Beautiful work. Pinhole solargraphy is one of my favorites.
As the year presses on, you can see how the sun tracks up, then down again on its path through the seasons. This is a year of the sun, every minute of every day. I love those ghostly arcs, only interrupted by clouds that have long passed.
You can do this yourself, with something as simple as a beer can or plastic tube (or an egg!) and some non-glossy black & white photography paper. In solorgraphy, as opposed to regular photography, the sun burns its path directly onto the photo paper, not film. It’s completely overexposed (literally burned) in the traditional sense of taking a picture, but when you’re done you simply scan the paper and take the negative image.
My friend Aaron and I made an instructional video on how to put these solargraphy cameras together a long time ago. Check it out, but don’t laugh, it was from before I knew how to make actually good videos.
photosynthetic colour change. photos (click pic) by: 1. justin schmauser; 2. torsten silz; 3. zoomboy1; 4. justin schmauser; 5. anymotion; 6. jim bolden sr.; 7. jaqueline d’ella; 8. zoomboy1: 9. justin schmauser; 10. alister c.
Fall is coming to an end, the sun sinks lower every day, and the chill of early winter has fallen across much of the northern hemisphere.
That means that, in places where leaves actually change color (AKA “not in Austin, where I live”), green has long given way to fiery reds and oranges, and that fire has since fallen to the ground, extinguished by garden rakes or decomposition, or blown out by brisk winds.
Hold on to these macro photos of color-changing leaves as a memory of the passing season. As the days have grown shorter, these plants have stopped producing as much green chlorophyll, and their carotenoids and anthocyanins shine through in bright canary and deep vermillion hues. You can also observe their veins, weaving beneath the leaf’s scaly epidermis, cutting cracks like a drying desert pond.
Here’s a less poetic diagram:
This is the beauty that lies in knowing, the science in the details, the wonder of the changing seasons.
A Grander Canyon
Last Friday, a rare and beautiful thing happened in Arizona’s Grand Canyon. It filled with fog. We’re used to seeing clouds above the Grand Canyon…
…not IN it. This cottony ocean was caused by a meteorological phenomenon called a temperature inversion.
A temperature inversion is when the normally warm layer of air near the Earth’s surface, normally heated by convection currents from the sun-baked land beneath it, is replaced by a colder air mass. This can happen when a warm front flows over the top of a cooler one, often in winter months.
Although the desert air in Arizona is pretty arid, as the cool atmosphere poured into the canyon, what little water there was condensed into clouds, flowing like waterfalls and filling the mighty canyon with a billowing ocean.
(images via Grand Canyon National Park on Facebook)