Vast but full of life: Explore Ramon Nature Reserve
Deep within the Negev Desert, a vast crater called Makhtesh Ramon seems lifeless at first glance. But this wide, dusty desert landscape is brimming with life, from the thriving creek-side plants to the charismatic, rock-hopping goats. 

Light and Shadow in the Carina Nebula

Previously unseen details of a mysterious, complex structure within the Carina Nebula (NGC 3372) are revealed by this image of the ‘Keyhole Nebula, ’ obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope. The picture is a montage assembled from four different April 1999 telescope pointings with Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, which used six different colour filters.

The picture is dominated by a large, approximately circular feature, which is part of the Keyhole Nebula, named in the 19th century by Sir John Herschel. This region, about 8000 light-years from Earth, is located adjacent to the famous explosive variable star Eta Carinae, which lies just outside the field of view toward the upper right. The Carina Nebula also contains several other stars that are among the hottest and most massive known, each about 10 times as hot, and 100 times as massive, as our Sun.

Credit: NASA/ESA, The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 2015 March 30

A Flag Shaped Aurora over Sweden

It appeared, momentarily, like a 50-km tall banded flag. In mid-March, an energetic Coronal Mass Ejection directed toward a clear magnetic channel to Earth led to one of the more intense geomagnetic storms of recent years. A visual result was wide spread auroras being seen over many countries near Earth’s magnetic poles. Captured over Kiruna, Sweden, the image features an unusually straight auroral curtain with the green color emitted low in the Earth’s atmosphere, and red many kilometers higher up. It is unclear where the rare purple aurora originates, but it might involve an unusual blue aurora at an even lower altitude than the green, seen superposed with a much higher red. As the Sun continues near its top level of surface activity, colorful nights of auroras over Earth are likely to continue.


light pollution is largely the result of poorly designed lighting, which wastes energy by shining outward to the sky, where it is unwanted, instead of downwards to the ground, where it is needed. billions are spent each year on unshielded outdoor lights, though they are directly responsible for 14.7 million tons of carbon dioxide waste in the u.s. alone. 

our overlit cities and suburbs have radically altered the light rhythms to which many forms of life, including diurnal animals such as ourselves, have adapted, disrupting the migratory, reproductive and feeding cycles of nocturnal creatures in potentially devastating ways.

light, for example, makes nocturnal animals easier prey, and acts as a magnet for birds, with the latter effect so powerful that scientists speak of some birds being literally “captured” by searchlights, circling in the thousands until they drop. the effect was notably observed in new york’s tribute of lights.

the effect on humans is just as profound. darkness is not only essential to our biological welfare (with light pollution linked to breast and prostate cancer), but the light of the stars and the rhythms of day and night is part our collective evolutionary and cultural patrimony.

and yet, 63 percent of the world’s population and 99 percent of the population in the european union and continental united states live in areas where the night sky is above the threshold set for polluted status.

photos by thierry cohen to consider for earth hour, which is today at 8:30pm. here thierry shows exactly how the night sky would appear over (1-8) shanghai, paris, rio, san francisco, hong kong, new york, los angeles and são paulo without the city light (at specific times given on his site).

Artist Creates Artificial Space Images Using Food Supplies

Brooklyn-based artist, Navid Baraty’s latest project “WANDER Space Probe” creates a fictional universe constructed from food and home supplies. Partially edible, Baraty’s photographs are made by arranging household items on a scanner. With the help of a pinch of sugar, cinnamon, flour, and a glass of coffee, Baraty produces stunning images of an alternate galaxy.

Featuring nebulas, stars, and distant planets, take a look below to see what type of supplies Baraty uses to create a cosmic experience. 

Planet – bottom of a glass containing half and half, water, food coloring. Stars – salt, cinnamon, baking powder

Nebula – makeup, olive oil, chalk, baby powder, salt, water

Planet – bottom of a glass containing half and half, water, food coloring. Moons – bottom of a glass containing coconut milk, water, food coloring. Stars – salt, cinnamon, baking powder, tums

Nebula with gas streams – cat fur, garlic powder, salt, flour, cumin, turmeric

Ghostly anomaly - butter, food coloring, salt

Black hole – bottom of a glass of coffee, salt, sugar, corn starch, cinnamon

Distant galaxy – olive oil, sesame oil, water, cumin, cinnamon, flour

Icy planet: bottom of a glass containing half and half, water, food coloring. Moons: silica gel, food coloring. Stars: sugar, cinnamon, cumin.

Spiral galaxy – baking soda, curry powder, chalk, salt, sugar, cinnamon

Deep space - Made from cream, coconut milk, water, food coloring

Distant galaxy- Made from olive oil, sesame oil, water, cumin, cinnamon, flour

Globular cluster - Made from baking soda, salt, sugar, curry powder, cinnamon

To find out more about Navid Baraty, visit his official website!

The Skull like Rosette Nebula - NGC 2237

This massive nebula, which stretches 130 light years across, seems to resemble a Skull in this high-definition image taken by the Isaac Newton Telescope. The core or “eye hole” (the dark area in the center of the nebula) of NGC 2237 may seem lifeless, but it is actually emitting radiation in the form of X-rays. In 2001, the Chandra Space Observatory reviled that the nebula has hundreds of young stars burning hot within this core. 

Credit: Nick Wright (University College London) and the IPHAS collaboration, NASA Chandra