Categories
Space

Breathtaking views of the Earth from the International Space Station

Ever wanted to see the 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. 

Categories
Space

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.
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.

Categories
Nature Science

Visualizing the hours of daylight in one year

Visualizing the hours of daylight in one year #gif #earth #space #sunlight #winter #seasons #summer

Reddit user harpalss used animation software D3 to create a beautiful visualization of the changing patterns of daylight in one year. This is how the user describes it:

Equation to calculate the hours of daylight for a given day of year and latitude can be found here. The animation was built with D3.

Both the northern and southern hemispheres experience longer and shorter days, depending on the time of year. That means less daylight right now (late November) for those in the United States and Canada and longer days for those in South America.

As Visual Capitalist accurately describes the data visualization:

Daytime is shorter in winter than in summer, for each hemisphere. This is because the Earth’s imaginary axis isn’t straight up and down, it is tilted 23.5 degrees. The Earth’s movement around this axis causes the change between day and night.

During summer in the Northern Hemisphere, daylight hours increase the farther north you go. The Arctic gets very little darkness at night. The seasonal changes in daylight hours are small near the Equator and more extreme close to the poles.

Categories
Space

The evolution of the spacesuit

As spacesuit design continues to become thinner and more dynamic — there are touchscreen sensitive gloves, an attached helmet and built-in ventilation in the latest uniform — it’s worth looking at how both US and Russian spacesuits have evolved over time.

Start by looking at the original suit designed for the moon mission above, then check out the diagram below. I still like the simplicity and balance of the Apollo A7-L EVA but the blue Apollo A5-L suit is ace as well.

Categories
Nature Science

Natural light prevents myopia

A report issued in Nature reveals that staying inside is the leading cause of myopia.

The finding refutes the myth that closeupness is the result of intense reading seasons and screen activity.

Outdoor light is beneficial to the eyes because it triggers the release of dopamine in the retina.

One myopia researcher recommends spending at least three hours a day in natural light, even if means sitting under a tree.

But what scientists really needed was a mechanism: something to explain how bright light could prevent myopia. The leading hypothesis is that light stimulates the release of dopamine in the retina, and this neurotransmitter in turn blocks the elongation of the eye during development. The best evidence for the ‘light–dopamine’ hypothesis comes — again — from chicks. In 2010, Ashby and Schaeffel showed that injecting a dopamine-inhibiting drug called spiperone into chicks’ eyes could abolish the protective effect of bright light 11 .