The Darvaza gas crater also called the Gates of Hell or Door to Hell, is a natural gas field in Turkmenistan that collapsed into an underground cavern.
Soviet engineers set the 230-foot hole on fire while exploring for gas in 1971. They expected the flames to die after a few days, but the opening burned continuously. Geologists set the escaping methane on fire to avoid poisoning nearby villages.
The fiery gas crater in the Karakum Desert has been in flames for over 50 years and can be seen from miles away.
What looks like the end of the Earth is really just the end of Australia.
The Bunda Cliffs of Nullarbor Plain, Southern Australia, form part of the longest uninterrupted line of coastal cliffs (62 miles long) in the world. They literally look like someone sawed off the bottom of Australia with a jigsaw.
These limestone sea cliffs, which are 200 feet to 400 feet high, drop off into the Great Australian Bight, one of the most pristine ocean environments on Earth.
Limestone caves started accumulating in Australia 50 million years before the continent split from Antarctica. The high cliffs formed as the seas receded between the continents.
The razor-sharp cliffs also head 7 centimeters north every year, thanks to continental drift.
PS: The Bunda Cliffs are not to be used as evidence for flat Earth believers.
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 (see below) is just one of the many wonders in the 747,956 acres park. The very high winds and early winter sun created the special circumstances to unveil the 2,400-foot rainbow waterfall.
“This phenomenon lasted over 8 minutes. This is how the 1400’ Yosemite Falls rainbow looked from Glacier Point in real-time. This certainly was not a planned event. I spent over 3 months total in Yosemite last year and just got lucky,” explained Harlow after capturing the dancing rainbows.
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 Free Solo documentary, which filmed the super sensation seeker Alex Honnold climbing El Capitan, the vertical granite rock formation located at Yosemite National Park.
As spacesuit design continues to become thinner, intricate, 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 (the Marshmallow Moon-Suit) designed for the moon mission above, which was licensed to Mattel for toys, then check out the diagram detailing the history of suits below.
We still like the simplicity and balance of the Apollo A7-L EVA but the blue Apollo A5-L suit is ace as well.
Naturally, there will be variations of spacesuit design especially as other companies invest into future. For example, SpaceX is already working on its own version while other patents like an auto-return home button should the astronauts become untethered, are in development as well.
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.
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. PS: Visit lightningmaps.org to view a live map of lightning strikes around the world in real-time.
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!
Ever wanted to see Planet Earth from 248 miles away? That’s how high the International Space Station orbits above the earth, which is about the same distance as New York to Washington DC, or London to Durham.
Thanks to these epic views of our planet from the International Space Station in the thermosphere, now you can get a glimpse of the perspective.
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.