Space

Inversion layer creates picture that blurs the line between Earth and Space

A wonderfully beautiful picture taken on the outskirts of the Atacma Desert shows a Geminids meteor falling in a perfectly dark sky above the apparently daylight landscape surrounding the La Silla Observatory (Chile). The picture, appearing to show a night sky in the daytime, is difficult to believe is not two separate images. Alas, the image’s unusual characteristic is possible because of an "inversion layer" located slightly above the 7,900 foot observatory. An “inversion” is an unusual deviation from the normal atmospheric properties that vary with altitude. Normally the air within the lower atmosphere (called the troposphere) near the surface of the Earth is warmer than the air above it. This occurs because the lower atmosphere is heated from solar radiation striking the Earth’s surface.…
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Weather

Check out the remarkable photos of hikers walking on crystal-clear lake ice

38-year-old Slovak hiker Tomas Nanuk made a short video of him and his friends walking across the crystal clear ice of an incredible frozen lake while hiking up Slovakia’s High Tatras mountain range. Showing hikers who look like they’re walking on thin air, the video, titled "Walking on beautiful clean ice in Slovakian Mountains," was posted on YouTube last week. Reeko’s included a few screen shots from the video in the pictorial below. It is believed the hikers were crossing the Velke Hincovo Pleso lake. One Slovakian explained that the unusual clear condition of the ice is created when temperatures fall from being relatively mild to very cold very quickly. With no recent snows, the ice being relatively thin, and the shallow depth of the lake, the…
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Archeology

How weather conditions helped confirm Stonehenge was once a complete circle

For a long time, archaeologists have suspected that the huge Neolithic stones of Stonehenge once formed a complete circle. Now, due to an unusually hot and dry summer, the mystery of Stonehenge appears to have been solved. Although typically the site is kept watered, the dry summer of 2014, and a garden hose that wouldn't quite reach, revealed several ghostly outlines in the parched grass where the huge stone megaliths once lay. Archaeological remnants which have been buried in the ground for extended periods are known to affect the rate of grass that grows above them, even long after they've been removed. In the aerial photos above, you can clearly see the outlines in the grass where the stones once stood. Worker Tim Daw described…
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Plants

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is shrinking faster than ever before

In any other circumstance, a huge, red, festering blemish would be a bad thing but not for the planet Jupiter. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot has been a defining characteristic of the planet since man began looking at the stars through bamboo shoots. But that may be about to change. NASA says that Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is shrinking in size faster than ever and could disappear altogether within 20 years. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is an Earth-sized storm raging on the gas giant’s surface. Scientists have known about the red spot since at least 1831 (and possibly as early as 1665). The storm rotates differently than the planet’s atmosphere and is believed to have traveled around the planet several times during its recorded history. For…
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Weather

Picture of massive supercell thunderstorm cloud captured by storm chaser group

Storm chasers group, Basehunters, captured this beautiful shot of a massive supercell cloud near Clareton, Wyoming on May 18, 2014. The picture features a massive rotating updraft of a supercell thunderstorm. Supercells are the largest, strongest and longest-lasting thunderstorms and usually feature a rotating updraft as seen in the picture above. Supercells often form when cold fronts, massive columns of colder air, move into the area. As the cold front approaches, warm, moist air is forced to rise which creates an updraft. The air moving upwards begins to rotate or spin creating a mesocyclone. As the water vapor rises, it condenses creating the massive swirling clouds inside the supercell thunderstorm. Despite their scary appearance, supercell thunderstorms typically do not produce tornadoes. They do however, produce…
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Weather

It rained fish in Sri Lanka – villagers collect thousands of fish that fell from the sky

Villagers in a west Sri Lanka scooped up buckets and buckets full of fish after thousands of the squirming little critters rained down on the village of Chilaw on May 6, 2014. Villagers said they heard something heavy on the roofs of their homes and since it wasn’t the night before Christmas, ran outside to see what was the matter. They tore open their doors and on the way out, grabbed buckets that they had hanging on their porches (with care) and began to scoop up as many of the tasty fish as they could .  It rained fish once before in Sri Lanka – back in 2012. After Tuesday's disruptive event, one fish, a retired, disabled medical sturgeon with no eye (his name was…
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