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APOD: Earth’s changing distance to the Sun July 4, 2009

Posted by Sarah in pics.
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Today, the 4th of July, the Earth’s elliptical orbit takes our planet to its farthest point from the Sun (‘aphelion‘). This composite image demonstrates nicely how this causes the Sun to appear just a tad smaller in the sky compared with the perihelion size, at the closest approach.

Image credit: E.L. Cervigon

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APOD: Shuttle magic May 13, 2009

Posted by Sarah in pics, space.
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In keeping with this week’s Launchtastic theme, today’s APOD is a beatiful picture of Space Shuttle Atlantis on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral. Atlantis is currently under way to rendez-vous with the Hubble Space Telescope to carry out essential repairs to ready the telescope for 5 more years of science operation.

Click to enlarge.

Image credit: Charles Danforth (CASA, U. Colorado)

Hubble brings exotic beauties to the IYA party April 7, 2009

Posted by Sarah in pics, science, space.
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Remember when the folks at NASA gave us all the opportunity to vote for a target to observe with the Hubble Space Telescope? (more…)

APOD: Some very fluffy-looking clouds February 5, 2009

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This picture fits into my Venn diagram of “cool weather phenomena” and “the fluffy theme I’ve got going on today”. Stacked lenticular clouds these are called, acoording to APOD, and they occure near mountain tops where moist air is forced to flow upwards instead of spread horizontally. The mountain in question here is Mt Rainier in Washington, USA. More very cool pictures of lenticular clouds here.

Image credit: Tim Thompson

APOD: Strange light effects in Latvia January 12, 2009

Posted by Sarah in science.
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Today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is really interesting: a picture taken in Latvia showing some strange light effects in the sky. The source of these weird pillary features is not clear, but the caption mentions something to do with ice crystals that are known to do some exotic looking things with light.

If you have a theory you can discuss it on this discussion board. Check out more pictures here.

Image credit: Aigar Truhin