Daily science, nature and space photos

Science & Nature
Science picture of the day
Hackberry emperor News.science360.gov.org
22 May 2015

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The hackberry emperor (Asterocampa celtis) is a North American butterfly that belongs to the family of brushfooted butterflies, Nymphalidae. Hackberry butterflies fly in a fast and erratic manner, and rest upside down on tree trunks.

Image credit: Courtesy of USFWS

Scientists tackle mystery of nighttime thunderstorms News.science360.gov.org
21 May 2015

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Thunderstorms that form at night, without a spark from the sun's heat, are a mysterious phenomenon. From June 1 through July 15, 2015, researchers from across North America will fan out each evening across the Great Plains, where storms are more common at night than during the day. The effort, co-organized by numerous collaborating institutions, will use lab-equipped aircraft, ground-...

Earth science picture of the day
Hybrid Contrails with Crow Instability Epod.usra.edu
22 May 2015


Photographer: Brian Barrett
Summary Author: Brian Barrett

This photograph was taken after a pair of perfectly straight contrails become distorted and twisted, and eventually broke into isolated rings. The initial contrails didn't result from exhaust contrails as would commonly be observed from high altitude aircraft. Nor were they vortex contrails as sometimes are seen from the wingtips of a pl...

Busy Sky Epod.usra.edu
21 May 2015


Photographer: Constantine Emmanouilidi
Summary Author: Constantine Emmanouilidi

The photo above shows a busy sky over the Chalkidiki Peninsula of northeastern Greece. This composite image was taken from the summit of Mount Athos (6,660 ft or 2,030 m above sea level), facing north. It features a double pass of the International Space Station (left to right at bottom center), several Iridium flar...

Hubble picture of the day
Hubble Observes One-of-a-Kind Star Nicknamed 'Nasty' Epod.usra.edu
21 May 2015

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Astronomers have spent decades trying to determine the oddball behavior of an aging star nicknamed "Nasty 1" residing in our Milky Way galaxy. Nasty 1 was identified as a Wolf-Rayet star, a rapidly evolving star that is much more massive than our sun. The star loses its hydrogen-filled outer layers quickly, exposing its super-hot and extremely bright helium-burning...

Hubble Catches a Stellar Exodus in Action Epod.usra.edu
14 May 2015

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Globular star clusters are isolated star cities, home to hundreds of thousands of stars. And like the fast pace of cities, there's plenty of action in these stellar metropolises. The stars are in constant motion, orbiting around the cluster's center. Past observations have shown that the heavyweight stars live in the crowded downtown, or core, and lightweight s...

NASA Earth Observatory Image of the Day

Drenching the South and Plains Epod.usra.edu
22 May 2015

Drenching the South and Plains
After years of drought, Texas, Oklahoma, and other states are now coping with persistent flooding rains.

Flooding of Dalton Highway Epod.usra.edu
21 May 2015

Flooding of Dalton Highway
The swollen Sag River has closed a trucking highway that connects Fairbanks to the Prudhoe Bay oil fields in far northern Alaska.

Animal of the day
Chinchilla - Magnificent Fur Blessing and Curse Thewebsiteofeverything.com
19 May 2015
ChinchillaIn the unforgiving, wind-swept Andes Mountains of South America, a fur coat so thick that it repels water is a blessing. Long-tailed chinchillas (Chinchilla lanigera) are blessed with such a plush coat. But that same coat is the cause of their critically endangered status in the wild. They have been hunted so ruthlessly for their fur that they are nearly extinct in the wild. Fortunately, they s...

Hare - Easter bunny was a hare originally Thewebsiteofeverything.com
3 Apr 2015
hare The tradition of the Easter bunny originates from West-european cultures, where it is a hare (Lepus europaeus) rather than a rabbit... German protestants had an abundance of eggs because of fasting. "German Protestants wanted to retain the Catholic custom of eating colored eggs for Easter, but did not want to introduce their children to the Catholic rite of fasting. Eggs were forbidden to Cath...

Botany photo of the day
Shepherdia canadensis BotanicalGarden.ubc.ca
22 May 2015
Shepherdia canadensis

Today's photo features the inflorescence of Shepherdia canadensis, a common berry-producing shrub of western North America. Anne Elliott (aka annkelliott@Flickr) took this macro in South Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta. Thanks Anne!

Shepherdia canadensis, also known as soopalallie or buffaloberry, is an incredibly important species for grizzly bears (Ursus arctos). The online field guide, Moun...

Pycnostachys urticifolia BotanicalGarden.ubc.ca
20 May 2015

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