“Those who see the cosmic perspective as a depressing outlook, they really need to reassess how they think about the world. Because when I look up in the universe, I know I’m small but I’m also big. I’m big because I’m connected to the universe, and the universe is connected to me.”  
Neil deGrasse Tyson

(Image credit: ‘The Mirrored Night Sky’ by Xiaohua Zhao taken at the world’s largest salt flat in Bolivia)

Nicholas Bion - Géographie Mathématique, “Traité de la construction et des principaux usages des instrumens de mathématique” (The Construction and Principal Uses of Mathematical Instruments), 1709.

The Flame Nebula in Infrared 

What lights up the Flame Nebula? Fifteen hundred light years away towards the constellation of Orion lies a nebula which, from its glow and dark dust lanes, appears, on the left, like a billowing fire. But fire, the rapid acquisition of oxygen, is not what makes this Flame glow. Rather the bright star Alnitak, the easternmost star in the Belt of Orion visible just above the nebula, shines energetic light into the Flame that knocks electrons away from the great clouds of hydrogen gas that reside there. Much of the glow results when the electrons and ionized hydrogen recombine. 

Credit:  ESO/J. Emerson/VISTA; Acknowledgment: Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit
Source: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap100112.html

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 2015 July 28 

Rainbows and Rays over Bryce Canyon 

What’s happening over Bryce Canyon? Two different optical effects that were captured in one image taken earlier this month. Both effects needed to have the Sun situated directly behind the photographer. The nearest apparition was the common rainbow, created by sunlight streaming from the setting sun over the head of the photographer, and scattering from raindrops in front of the canyon. If you look closely, even a second rainbow appears above the first. 

More rare, and perhaps more striking, are the rays of light that emanate out from the horizon above the canyon. These are known as anticrepuscular rays and result from sunlight streaming though breaks in the clouds, around the sky, and converging at the point 180 degrees around from the Sun. Geometrically, this antisolar point must coincide with the exact center of the rainbows. Located in Utah, USA, Bryce Canyon itself contains a picturesque array of ancient sedimentary rock spires known as hoodoos.