lava fountains

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Our solar system is a jewel box filled with a glittering variety of beautiful worlds–and not all of them are planets. This week, we present our solar system’s most marvelous moons.

1. Weird Weather: Titan

Saturn’s hazy moon Titan is larger than Mercury, but its size is not the only way it’s like a planet. Titan has a thick atmosphere, complete with its own “water cycle” – except that it’s way too cold on Titan for liquid water. Instead, rains of liquid hydrocarbons like ethane and methane fall onto icy mountains, run into rivers, and gather into great seas. Our Cassini spacecraft mapped the methane seas with radar, and its cameras even caught a glimpse of sunlight reflecting off the seas’ surface. Learn more about Titan:

2. Icy Giant: Ganymede

Jupiter’s moon Ganymede is the largest in the solar system. It’s bigger than Mercury and Pluto, and three-quarters the size of Mars. It’s also the only moon known to have its own magnetic field. Details:

3. Retrograde Rebel: Triton

Triton is Neptune’s largest moon, and the only one in the solar system to orbit in the opposite direction of its planet’s rotation, a retrograde orbit. It may have been captured from the Kuiper Belt, where Pluto orbits. Despite the frigid temperatures there, Triton has cryovolcanic activity – frozen nitrogen sometimes sublimates directly to gas and erupts from geysers on the surface. More on Triton:

4. Cold Faithful: Enceladus

The most famous geysers in our solar system (outside of those on Earth) belong to Saturn’s moon Enceladus. It’s a small, icy body, but Cassini revealed this world to be one of the solar system’s most scientifically interesting destinations. Geyser-like jets spew water vapor and ice particles from an underground ocean beneath the icy crust of Enceladus. With its global ocean, unique chemistry and internal heat, Enceladus has become a promising lead in our search for worlds where life could exist. Get the details:

5. Volcano World: Io

Jupiter’s moon Io is subjected to tremendous gravitational forces that cause its surface to bulge up and down by as much as 330 feet (100 m). The result? Io is the most volcanically active body in the Solar System, with hundreds of volcanoes, some erupting lava fountains dozens of miles high. More on Io’s volcanoes:

6. Yin and Yang Moon: Iapetus

When Giovanni Cassini discovered Iapetus in 1671, he observed that one side of this moon of Saturn was bright and the other dark. He noted that he could only see Iapetus on the west side of Saturn, and correctly concluded that Iapetus had one side much darker than the other side. Why? Three centuries later, the Cassini spacecraft solved the puzzle. Dark, reddish dust in Iapetus’s orbital path is swept up and lands on the leading face of the moon. The dark areas absorb energy and become warmer, while uncontaminated areas remain cooler. Learn more:

7. A Double World: Charon and Pluto

At half the size of Pluto, Charon is the largest of Pluto’s moons and the largest known satellite relative to its parent body. The moon is so big compared to Pluto that Pluto and Charon are sometimes referred to as a double planet system. Charon’s orbit around Pluto takes 6.4 Earth days, and one Pluto rotation (a Pluto day) takes 6.4 Earth days. So from Pluto’s point of view Charon neither rises nor sets, but hovers over the same spot on Pluto’s surface, and the same side of Charon always faces Pluto. Get the details:

8. “Death Star” Moon: Mimas

Saturn’s moon Mimas has one feature that draws more attention than any other: the crater Herschel, which formed in an impact that nearly shattered the little world. Herschel gives Mimas a distinctive look that prompts an oft-repeated joke. But, yes, it’s a moon. More:

9. Don’t Be Afraid, It’s Just Phobos

In mythology, Mars is a the god of war, so it’s fitting that its two small moons are called Phobos, “fear,” and Deimos, “terror.” Our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter caught this look at Phobos, which is roughly 17 miles (27 km) wide. In recent years, NASA scientists have come to think that Phobos will be torn apart by its host planet’s gravity. Details:

Learn more about Phobos:

10. The Moon We Know Best

Although decades have passed since astronauts last set foot on its surface, Earth’s moon is far from abandoned. Several robotic missions have continued the exploration. For example, this stunning view of the moon’s famous Tycho crater was captured by our Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which continues to map the surface in fine detail today. More:

Discover more lists of 10 things to know about our solar system HERE.

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Tadah! A few Pyropes and their strict trainer Lava Plume Agate! ( my new bb )
 The three Pyropes on the left are available for adoption if you want them and you can change them up a bit if you wish though i do request you keep them fairly similar to their OG design. Ill let you know when theyve been claimed

Ill draw a reference for Lava Plume Agate probs tomorrow tbh. 
Have any Questions about Pyropes or Agate let me know!

Mt. Etna has been erupting for hundreds of thousands of years. Located in Sicily, Italy, the volcano produces lava fountains over one kilometer high. Mt. Etna is not only one of the most active volcanoes on Earth, it is one of the largest, measuring over 50 kilometers at its base and rising nearly 3 kilometers high!!

Pictured in mid-March, a spectacular lava plume erupts upwards, dangerous molten volcanic bombs fly off to the sides, while hot lava flows down the volcano’s exterior. The Earth’s rotation is discernable on this carefully time, moon-lit, long duration image as star trails.

Image Credit & Copyright: Dario Giannobile


The dwarves are lauded for their craftsmanship, and the city of Orzammar is one of their finest works. Orzammar lies at the heart of the Frostback Mountains, deep underground. The city arcs outward from the royal palace, which is built around a natural lava vent, continually fountaining liquid rock, which both lights and heats the entire cavern. 

 The topmost tier of Orzammar is home to the noble caste, with their palaces fanning out in both directions from the court of the king, as well as the Shaperate, which serves as a repository for all dwarven knowledge. 

 The lower tier is the Commons, where the merchant caste holds sway and where the finest works of Orzammar’s craftsman are for sale. In the center of the river of lava, connected to the Commons by a causeway, are the Proving Grounds, a sacred arena where the dwarves, by ancient tradition, settle their disputes. 

 On one side of the fiery river are the ruins of old dwarven palaces, fallen into disrepair, which the locals call Dust Town, now home to the city’s casteless. On the other side of the river are the Deep Roads, which once joined the sprawling dwarven empire together, but now, after centuries of darkspawn incursions, are largely sealed off. Nearly all knowledge of this network of underground passages has been lost, even to its builders. 

 ──From “In Pursuit of Knowledge: The Travels of A Chantry Scholar”, by Brother Genitivi


I love finding videos of active volcanic eruptions up close. Piton de la Fournaise volcano on Reunion Island recently woke up again, pumping out basaltic lava flows and producing fire fountains. Here a drone inches up to the edge of the fire fountaining and the lava flow and gives a great view. When the drone zooms in, watch the rocky wall at the edge of the fire fountains - nice little shots of the suddenly cooled lava avalanching down.


The volcano Piton de la Fournaise on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean is driven by a hotspot, much like Hawaii, It regularly erupts hot, basaltic lava in fire-fountain eruptions and the whole island is constructed out of eruptions like this. It had some spectacular eruptions in 2016, and here’s its first awakening for 2017. Some really good fire fountaining combined with glowing lava flows at night.


Piton de la Fournaise Volcano in Reunion Island began another eruption this week. Here is lava fountaining from that eruption in timelapse, with the moon rising in the background.


On January 23, 1973, a fissure ripped the island of Heimaey open, releasing a fountain of lava on the tiny Icelandic town of Vestmannaeyjar, known as the “Pompeii of the North.” The fissure that opened followed several tremors, and the resulting eruption lasted five months and left a 660-foot volcano, called Eldfell, in its wake.

Peter Holliday’s gorgeous photos in Where The Land Rises are remote and ethereal, and feel a bit melancholy even if you don’t know the story of what happened there. They convey the vast desolation of a tiny island in a vast sea, and the quiet of the snowy landscape. 

Read more about Holliday’s project and check out more photos.

anonymous asked:

12 falls into something nasty on an alien planet. Clara helps get him clean (with lots of lovely hair washing and combing preferably) and both of them find this surprisingly arousing and they do the do.

Not quite as far as the doing the do part, but I got the goo and shower parts of the prompt!

“We’ve got to get this mud off! Now! Run!”

The Doctor clutched Clara’s mud-smeared hand and tugged her into motion. She ran slower than he did, mere human that she was. Short-legged short human. He had long-since learned how to pace himself to match her, not that he admitted this. They ran, hand in hand toward the TARDIS.

Clara was protesting.

“It’s just mud,” she said. “Green mud, yeah, but the dirt was green because of all the copper so–”

“It’s not just mud, Clara. It’s semi-sentient nano-mud. It’ll be reconstructing our bodies along more efficient principles if we leave it to dry.”

It was, he did not add, already likely cleaning up her outermost skin layers, removing pesky moles and doing things she might or might not like with hair follicles. If it took a mind to it. It was unpredictable. That was the trouble with semi-sentient things. You could reason with things that were all the way sentient. You could talk to them, find how how they thought. Sometimes they were annoying, but mostly they were fun. This was why he did what he did for the universe. Why Clara ran around with him helping him. But semi-sentient things were flighty. Nervy. Whimsical. In a word, unpredictable. He hated things he couldn’t talk to.

Right. Back on topic. Mud.

“We need to get it off ourselves. Now. TARDIS bathhouse. Chop chop!”

Keep reading


Piton de la Fournaise volcano on Reunion Island produces pretty regular, spectacular eruptions and another started just recently. Take a drone delivered view across the fields of basaltic lava rivers as they spread out from the crater, and you even get to hear the sound of the fire fountaining at one point.


Volcanic searchlight

Villarica (AKA Pucon) has been erupting for several months (see, and while the activity remains low key with seismic tremor, glowing craters and some lava fountaining, the smoking mountain is still producing some fantastic visual effects. Here a beam of red volcanic light is shining brightly up towards the clear winter stars over the Andes, that great chain of mountains born of the subduction of the Pacific oceanic plate under the South American continental one. The current alert level is only yellow, and we’ll keep you posted if things change. In the first photo our hime island universe’s two largest satellite galaxies, the large and small Magallanic clouds are clearly visible as the cloud like objects, one just to the right of the beam and one seemingly in it.


Image credit: Agencia Uno