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Swirls of Jupiter

Jupiter is a very stormy, turbulent, violent planet. The planet completes a day (or one complete rotation) within roughly 10 hours, which creates massive winds, producing these swirls, and violent storms. The fast rotation coupled with the fact that the planet is nothing but gas greatly multiplies the Coriolis effect. Earth too has a Coriolis effect, this creates the characteristic hurricane shapes and also contributes to the fact that storms will spin the opposite direction in different hemispheres. Luckily, our rotation is slower - our storms are less frequent and less violent than they would be if our days were shorter.

The above images come from the recent Juno mission by NASA.

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Earth is facing an extinction crisis – and humans shoulder the blame.

Wildlife poaching and illegal trade. Climate change. Urbanization. Mining. These are some of the myriad things we do that endanger animals and, in the process, damage our own well-being.

Three-quarters of the earth’s estimated 8.7 million species are at risk, according to a 2011 PLoS Biology study. Of course it’s not always our fault, but even the most conservative estimates, like one published in a 2015 Science study that uses the fossil record, suggest that the current extinction rate based on vertebrate data is up to a hundred times higher than it would be without human intervention.

Photographer Tim Flach is trying to bring imperiled species and the threats they face eye to eye with an audience estranged from nature in his new book Endangered. “The romanticizing, free, wild images [of animals] weren’t necessarily getting people to take action,” Flach says. “I wanted to think about what kind of images people engage in and how you tell a story to get people to connect to [the animal].”

PHOTOS: Animals That Could Disappear Because Of Us

Photo: Tim Flach

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20 Gorgeous Hubble Photos That Showcase The Universe’s Beauty

Galaxy clusters: The most massive bound structures in the Universe, these contain anywhere from a handful up to thousands of Milky Way-sized galaxies. From incredibly deep views in space to bent light by their gravity, to individual galaxies speeding through them, Hubble offers views like no other.”

It might be Christmas day here on Earth, but thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, these views of the distant Universe are ours to treasure for all-time. The individual stars in our sky all have a glorious origin story, and will all someday die in their own spectacular fashion. These stars are formed in the most incredible nebulae, where gas races to collapse while the surrounding environs work to evaporate it away. All of this takes place inside individual galaxies, which themselves can clump and cluster together in the most massive structures the Universe has ever seen. Because of Hubble, we get to view them all.

Come explore these 20 gorgeous photos, courtesy of Hubble, that show us the Universe as we’ve never seen it before!

Enlightening the world, one sunspot sketch at a time

Hisako Koyama was an astronomer who produced one of the most influential sunspot collections of the past 400 years.

Born in Tokyo in 1916, Koyama grew up in a society that didn’t encourage young women to pursue careers. Koyama graduated from an all-girls high school in the 1930s, which was rare for girls of her time.

From a young age, Koyama was fixated on the sky, and her father nurtured her growing enthusiasm. He bought her a telescope, and by 1944, Koyama directed that telescope toward the sun.

Sunspots temporarily appear when there’s high magnetic activity in a concentrated area on the sun’s surface. The temperature in those places are cooler, and the spots produce less light than the rest of the surface. The sun goes through an 11-year solar cycle, and sunspot numbers fluctuate at the cycle’s end. Scientists track sunspots because they predicate solar activity like solar flares–which can mess with satellite communications around the Earth.

Koyama hand drew sunspots every day. When her renderings are joined,  it’s like watching the spots move as the sun rotates each day.

Koyama watched images like this for more than 40 years. She pulled together her life’s work, about 10,000 sunspot drawings from 1947 to 1984, and published them in her book called “Observations of Sunspots.”

Koyama is considered a pioneer of Japanese citizen science and has been a messenger between the professional and amateur astronomy spheres. Today, astronomers from across the globe are learning from her work and hope her story can inspire young women everywhere to pursue their passions.

Photos: Asahigraph, Kawade Shobo Shinsha Publishers, NASA/SDO, National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo