Categories
Nature

Radiant Sodalite mineral rock

How neat is this sodalite mineral rock?

A rare discovery, sodalite rocks form from crystallized from sodium-rich magmas and are typically blue or violet in nature.

Think of the sodalite as a normal stone with special effects — a la tenebrescence — that make the minerals glow when exposed to light. Check out its cousin, the fire opal.

Categories
Space

What the northern lights look like from a U-2 spy plane at 70,000ft.

U-2 pilot and instructor and avid photographer Ross Franquemont took these snaps of the spectacular aurora borealis — or, northern lights, while flying the legendary U-2 spycraft.

“I had no idea how fast the aurora moved and changed. It danced around, changing shape several times a second. That made it a challenge for the photographer in a spacesuit sitting in shaking metal can moving 500 mph,” Ross told The Aviationist about the photos.

The northern lights, which also occur in the Southern Hemisphere — the “Aurora Australis” — have always fascinated mankind. They develop as a result of a solar storm that originates from the sun and blows a stream of charged electrons toward Earth.

The process creates a natural light phenomenon when the electrons collide with the Earth’s upper atmosphere. The colors green and red display between 60 to 150 miles in altitude when the electrons hit atoms of oxygen. Meanwhile, the blue and purple/violet colors occur up to 60 miles away from Earth’s magnetic field.

What the northern lights look like from a U-2 spy plane at 70,000ft.
What the northern lights look like from a U-2 spy plane at 70,000ft.
What the northern lights look like from a U-2 spy plane at 70,000ft.
What the northern lights look like from a U-2 spy plane at 70,000ft.
Categories
Nature Science

Watch stunning ground-to-cloud lightning in Australia

While we perceive lightning from cloud to ground or cloud to cloud, the majority of lightning one sees occurs from ground to cloud.

In this video captured by Hayden Milne in Burleigh Heads, Australia, we see ground-to-cloud lightning in its most epic display.

Doesn’t lightning always work upside down?

Mother Nature can be scary at times until you realize that most visible lightning strikes work on the way back up. Electricity disperses out from the clouds in search of a return ground strike to meet.

Lightning is a fascinating optical illusion.

Categories
Science Space

See the sharpest movie of the sun ever made, with each plasma cell the size of Texas

The sun is about 93,000,000 miles away from Earth. The sun’s light travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second, in total taking just 8 minutes to reach us.

The National Solar Observatory (NSO) has brought us the sharpest view of the sun we’ve seen yet using the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope. Each plasma cell is about the size of Texas.

This is how NSO describes capturing the footage:

The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope has produced the highest resolution observations of the Sun’s surface ever taken. In this movie, taken at a wavelength of 705nm over a period of 10 minutes, we can see features as small as 30km (18 miles) in size for the first time ever. The movie shows the turbulent, “boiling” gas that covers the entire sun.

The cell-like structures – each about the size of Texas – are the signature of violent motions that transport heat from the inside of the sun to its surface. Hot solar material (plasma) rises in the bright centers of “cells,” cools off and then sinks below the surface in dark lanes in a process known as convection. In these dark lanes we can also see the tiny, bright markers of magnetic fields. Never before seen to this clarity, these bright specks are thought to channel energy up into the outer layers of the solar atmosphere called the corona. These bright spots may be at the core of why the solar corona is more than a million degrees!

Categories
Space

Breathtaking views of the Earth from the International Space Station

Ever wanted to see Planet Earth from 248 miles away?

Now you can, thanks to these epic views of our planet from the International Space Station in the thermosphere.

Watch the crescent Earth rotate among the solar panels and the sun in various views as the International Space Station orbits Earth at 17,500mph.

Stunning. And be sure to follow the International Space Station on Twitter for more live shots.

views of the Earth from the International Space Station
views of the Earth from the International Space Station
views of the Earth from the International Space Station

Videos via Nasa/Images via Astro_Jessica

Categories
Nature

Rainbow Waterfall at Yosemite National Park

Said the “Father of the National Parks“ of America’s national parks John Muir, “Most people are on the world, not in it.” His advocacy helped protect the Yosemite Valley and ultimately led to the establishment of Yosemite National Park.

The video of the rainbow waterfall by landscape photographer Greg Harlow at Yosemite is just one of the many wonders in the 747,956 acres park. The California-based national park is one of the few places in the US where you can see a rainbow, or moonbow, at night.

Yosemite also played host to the recent documentary entitled Free Solo which filmed the super sensation seeker Alex Honnold climb El Capitan, the vertical granite rock formation located at Yosemite National Park.

PS. If you’re interested in learning the art of adventure photography and film, consider taking National Geographic photographer and the producer of Free Solo, Jimmy Chin’s course teaching adventure photography course on MasterClass.