Solar System, in Perspective
Artist’s concept from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
The original image from NASA Goddard Photo and Video has been put through the Tumblrzr ® — verticalized and sliced up.

SCALE BAR: astronomical units, and each set distance beyond 1 AU represents 10 times the previous distance.

One AU is the distance from the sun to the Earth, which is about 93 million miles or 150 million kilometers. Neptune, the most distant planet from the sun, is about 30 AU.

Informally, the term “solar system” is often used to mean the space out to the last planet.

Scientific consensus, however, says the solar system goes out to the Oort Cloud, the source of the comets that swing by our sun on long time scales. Beyond the outer edge of the Oort Cloud, the gravity of other stars begins to dominate that of the sun. The inner edge of the main part of the Oort Cloud could be as close as 1,000 AU from our sun. The outer edge is estimated to be around 100,000 AU.

Read more from NASA Goddard …

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Vintage Scientific Illustration

Demostraçao experimental do principio d’Archimedes

From El Bibliomata on Flickr.


From Biblioteca de la Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias del Trabajo Universidad de Sevilla on Flickr.

SOURCE:  Novo diccionário encyclopédico luso-brasileiro / organizado e publicado pela Livraria Lello sob a direcçao de Joao Grave e Coelho Netto. - Porto : Lello & Irmao,

Made with Flickr

What you’re seeing is a sequence of “Einstein Rings" 

Einstein Ring is a term from observational astronomy. It’s an artifact of the gravitational lensing of light (from a star or galaxy) by a massively massive astronomical object (like a black hole or another galaxy).

In order for an Einstein Ring to appear, all three—the light source, the massive lens, and the observer—must all be aligned. In other words, it occurs when the object that you’re seeing as an Einstein ring is directly behind the object that is the gravitational lens.

Gravitational lensing is predicted by Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Instead of light from a source traveling in a straight line (in three dimensions), it is bent by the presence of a massive body, which distorts spacetime.

The animation above is

a simulation depicting a zoom-in on a Schwarzschild black hole in front of the Milky Way.

  • The first Einstein ring corresponds to the most distorted region of the picture and is clearly depicted by the galactic disc.
  • The zoom then reveals a series of 4 extra rings, increasingly thinner and closer to the black hole shadow. They are easily seen through the multiple images of the galactic disk.
The odd-numbered rings correspond to [images of objects] which are behind the black hole (from the observer’s point of view);  they correspond here to the bright yellow region of the galactic disc (close to the galactic center).

The even-numbered rings correspond to images of objects which are behind the observer.  These objects appear bluer since the corresponding part of the galactic disc is thinner and hence dimmer.  [WP]

SOURCE:  Einstein ring - Wikipedia).
The animation was created by Wikipedia contributor Urbane Legend.

Mycena chlorophos, in the subtropical forests of New South Wales
Photographed by Steve Axford, steveax1 on Flickr.
All Rights Reserved

Mycena chlorophos is a species of agaric fungus found on fallen woody debris such as dead twigs, branches, and logs in the forests of subtropical Asia.  Its fruit bodies (mushrooms) are bioluminescent and emit a pale green light.    [Wikipedia]

Made with Flickr

IMAGE: Cancer in colour || Bettina Weigelin and Peter Friedl, Radboud Univ. Nijmegen

This false-colour image shows yellow melanoma cells invading skin tissue, amid cyan nerve and fat cells, green muscle, and red blood vessels.

Researchers are increasingly turning to video in order to truly understand how cancer spreads.  You can see a ten second video clip in this Nature News Feature …

SOURCE: Images of the month: Nature News & Comment

Trilobite beetle (Duliticola sp.) 
Macro photography by Paul Bertner on Flickr.

Photo taken in Mt. Kinabalu national park, Borneo.
Posted January 27, 2014

Duliticola: a genus of south and southeast Asian beetles belonging to the family Lycidae.  Females are 40–80 mm in length and remain in the larval form for their entire lives. The males have a beetle-like appearance, but are much smaller, 8–9 mm. The female is an example of paedomorphosis (retention of juvenile traits in the adult stage).

40 second video that gives a perspective you won’t get from the photo …

Animalia → Arthropoda → Hexapoda → Insecta → Coleoptera → 
    Polyphaga → Elateriformia → Elateroidea → Lycidae

Made with Flickr

Build-up and release of gas from thawing permafrost 
most probable explanation, says Russian team. 

31 July 2014  ||  Katia Moskvitch / Nature News & Comment

  • In Siberian permafrost, large deposits of methane gas are trapped in ice, forming what is called a gas hydrate.
  • Methane remains stable and frozen at certain temperatures, but as the permafrost warms, and its internal strength decreases, it may be less able to withhold the build-up of sub-surface gases, leading to a release.

A mystery crater spotted in the frozen Yamal peninsula in Siberia earlier this month was probably caused by methane released as permafrost thawed, researchers in Russia say.

Air near the bottom of the crater contained unusually high concentrations of methane — up to 9.6% — in tests conducted at the site on 16 July, says Andrei Plekhanov, an archaeologist at the Scientific Centre of Arctic Studies in Salekhard, Russia. Plekhanov, who led an expedition to the crater, says that air normally contains just 0.000179% methane.

Read more …

IMAGE:  The crater in the Yamal peninsula in Siberia is 30-metres wide
CREDIT:  Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug Governor