earth from space

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Astronaut Terry Virts shared a bunch of video clips on Vine while he was on the International Space Station and I believe gave us the #spacevine hashtag. Here he is flying over the Aurora  - check out the thin clouds BELOW the Aurora here rather than in the way!

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Beware that rip

Since it’s still summer where I live and I just got back from a beach where this phenomenon is an ever present danger (depending on Oceanos’s mood of the day) a quick line on rips seemed appropriate. They can sweep you out to sea unawares, and if one panics and tries to swim against it rather than parallel to the beach to get out of it, one could end up in serious, even fatal trouble. These narrow currents flow out from the surf zone of sandy beaches, scouring the sea bed to make deeper calm looking hollows where they occur.

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Earth from space: Dune 45

The Namib is the oldest desert in the world, stretching over 2000 km along Africa’s southwestern coast from Angola, through Namibia to South Africa. Sand dunes dominate the desert – some reaching over 300 m in height.

The blue and white area is the dry river bed of the Tsauchab – which only sees water following rare rainfall in the Naukluft Mountains to the east. Black dots of vegetation are concentrated close to the river’s main route, while salt deposits appear bright white.

Running through the river valley, a road connects Sossusvlei to the Sesriem settlement. At the road’s 45th kilometre, seen at the lower-central part of the image, a white path shoots off and ends at a circular parking area at the base of a dune. This is Dune 45, a popular tourist stop on the way to and from Sossusvlei.

Image credit: KARI/ESA

Happy St. Patricks Day to all our fans!

From this image it is easy to see how we got the name “The Emerald Isle”- with most of the country covered in green vegetation, primarily grassland. If you are familiar with the Irish climate, you may be in awe at this image captured by NASA’s Terra Satellite. Yes, there is apparently nothing NASA cannot do; including getting a photo of Ireland without any cloud cover!! Given Ireland’s temperate climate and the influence of the Atlantic Ocean, Ireland rarely is cloud free. In fact, the sky is entirely cloudy more than 50% of the time, according to the Irish meteorological office- 99% of the time according to most Irish people.

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(ESA)  TOKYO BAY, JAPAN

Copyright ESA

This image from Sentinel-1A’s radar on 11 July, 2014, shows Tokyo Bay in Japan.

Tokyo’s centre lies mainly south of the Arakawa River. Other visible rivers on this image are the Edo River to its north and the Tama River just to its south, with all three streaming into Tokyo Bay. At the mouth of the Tama River we can see the runways of Haneda Airport.

Note the difference between the area northwest of Tokyo Bay – where bright radar reflections show dense construction – and its southeastern opposite. This area with an overall brownish colour is the site of the Minami-Bōsō Quasi-National Park.

Greater Tokyo is home to nearly 38 million people, making it the world’s largest ‘megacity’ (a metropolitan area with more than 10 million people). Today, there are over 30 megacities across the globe.

Urban areas are home to over half of the world’s population and are rapidly changing environments. As more people move from rural areas to cities, this growth needs to be monitored to help it proceed on a sustainable basis.