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GOES-16's Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) captured this electrifying imagery of the lightning associated with the recent severe weather over the Mississippi Valley and southern Plains this past weekend.

According to a variety of media reports, the storms caused the deaths of at least 13 people, produced widespread heavy rain resulting in flash floods, high winds that down trees and left thousands without power, a late-season blizzard in Kansas, and several tornadoes.

GLM observes total lightning, including in-cloud and cloud to ground lightning, and will continually observe lightning flashes day and night across the Western Hemisphere. Of particular note in this animation is the horizontal propagation of lightning flashes occurring behind the line of intense storms. Rapid increases of lightning are a signal that a storm is strengthening and could become more dangerous. GLM, in concert with other forecaster tools, will help provide more accurate and earlier warnings of developing severe storms and give communities more time to prepare for impending severe weather.

Watch:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxJTQuWISbk

Source:
https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/GOES-16

#space #weather #nasa #GOES #GLM #science


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5/13/17
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Plane contrail and sun halo
What happened to the sky? Several common features of the daytime sky are interacting in a uncommon ways. First, well behind the silhouetted hills, is the typically bright sun. In front of the sun are thin clouds, possibly the home to a layer of hexagonal ice crystals that together are creating the 22 degree halo of light surrounding the sun.

The unusual bent line that crosses the image is a contrail - a type of cloud created by passing airplane. Much of the contrail must actually be further away than the thin cloud because it casts a shadow onto the cloud, giving an unusual three-dimensional quality to the featured image. The featured image was taken in late January in the city of Patras in West Greece.

Image and info via APOD
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

Image credit & copyright: Alexandros Maragos

#naturalphenomena #sunhalo #contrail #nasa

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The Aurora Tree
Yes, but can your tree do this? Pictured is a visual coincidence between the dark branches of a nearby tree and bright glow of a distant aurora. The beauty of the aurora -- combined with how it seemed to mimic a tree right nearby -- mesmerized the photographer to such a degree that he momentarily forgot to take pictures. When viewed at the right angle, it seemed that this tree had aurora for leaves!

Fortunately, before the aurora morphed into a different overall shape, he came to his senses and capture the awe-inspiring momentary coincidence. Typically triggered by solar explosions, aurora are caused by high energy electrons impacting the Earth's atmosphere around 150 kilometers up. The unusual Earth-sky collaboration was witnessed earlier this month in Iceland.

Image & info via APOD
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html
Image Credit & Copyright: Alyn Wallace Photography

#naturalphenomena #NASA #aurora 
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Watermelon Snow
In snowy places across the globe, “watermelon snow” forms as the summer sun heats up and melts winter’s leftovers. The colorful snow is made up of communities of algae that thrive in freezing temperatures and liquid water, resulting in algal blooms. When these typically green organisms get a lot of sun, they produce a natural type of sunscreen that paints the slopes pink and red. The addition of color to the surface darkens the snow, allowing it to heat up faster, and melt more quickly.

By far, the most common species of snow alga is Chlamydomonas nivalis, which colors snow red or pink. With their pair of front-mounted flagella, they ply the films of water found in melting snow drifts. Midsummer is the best time of the year to see them, if you live in a high-altitude or Arctic clime with snowbanks that stubbornly refuse to yield to the sun.

Yet surprsingly, active C. nivalis cells are not pink when you look at them under the microscope. Here's a closeup alongside a slinky green alga called Euglena. The homely, roundish cells are Chlamydomonas, and you can see both their paired flagella and the cells' various organelles.

Image & info via NYT
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/23/science/watermelon-snow-global-warming.html?_r=0

Gif source & info:
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/artful-amoeba/wonderful-things-dont-eat-the-pink-snow/

#naturalphenomena #watermelonsnow #algae #science

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3/12/17
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Colorful Aurora over Iceland
You don't always see a scene this beautiful when you hike to an ancient volcano -- you have to be lucky. When the astrophotographer realized that aurora were visible two-weeks ago, he made a night-time run for the top of the caldera to see if he could capture them also reflected in the central lake. When he arrived, he found that ... the northern lights were even brighter and more impressive than before!

And his image of them is the featured 13-frame panoramic mosaic. The crater lake in the center is called Kerid (Icelandic: Kerið) and is about 3,000 years old. The aurora overhead shows impressive colors and banding, with the red colors occurring higher in the Earth's atmosphere than the green. The background sky is filled with icons of the northern night including Polaris, the Pleiades star cluster, and the stars that compose the handle of the Big Dipper.

Image & info via APOD
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html
Image Credit & Copyright: Sigurdur William Brynjarsson;
Annotation Advice: Sævar Helgi Bragason

#naturalphenomena #aurora #astrophotography #nasa #universe #science 
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Annular Eclipse After Sunrise
From northern Patagonia, morning skies were clear and blue on Sunday, February 26. This sweeping composite scene, overlooking Hermoso Valle, Facundo, Chubut, Argentina, follows the Sun after sunrise, capturing an annular solar eclipse.

Created from a series of exposures at three minute intervals, it shows the year's first solar eclipse beginning well above the distant eastern horizon. An exposure close to mid-eclipse recorded the expected ring of fire, the silhouette of the New Moon only slightly too small to cover the bright Sun. At that location on planet Earth, the annular phase of the eclipse lasted a brief 45 seconds.

Image and info via APOD
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html
Image Credit & Copyright: Vincent Bouchama

#nasa #naturalphenomena #eclipse 
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A Solar Eclipse with a Beaded Ring of Fire
What kind of eclipse is this? On Sunday, visible in parts of Earth's southern hemisphere, the Moon blocked part of the Sun during a partial solar eclipse. In some locations, though, the effect was a rare type of partial eclipse called an annular eclipse. There, since the Moon is too far from the Earth to block the entire Sun, sunlight streamed around the edges of the Moon creating a "ring of fire".

At some times, though, the effect was a rare type of annular eclipse. Then, an edge of the Moon nearly aligned with an edge of the Sun, allowing sunlight to stream through only low areas on the Moon. Called a "Baily's bead" or a "diamond ring", this doubly rare effect was captured Sunday in the feature photograph from Chubut, Argentina, in South America. This summer a total solar eclipse will swoop across North America.

Image & info via APOD
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html
Image Credit & Copyright: Stephen Bedingfield

#nasa #space #naturalphenomena #solareclipse #science 
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Penumbral Eclipse Rising
As seen from Cocoa Beach Pier, Florida, planet Earth, the Moon rose at sunset on February 10 while gliding through Earth's faint outer shadow. In progress was the first eclipse of 2017, a penumbral lunar eclipse followed in this digital stack of seaside exposures. Of course, the penumbral shadow is lighter than the planet's umbral shadow.

That central, dark, shadow is easily seen on the lunar disk during a total or partial lunar eclipse. Still, in this penumbral eclipse the limb of the Moon grows just perceptibly darker as it rises above the western horizon. The second eclipse of 2017 could be more dramatic though. With viewing from a path across planet Earth's southern hemisphere, on February 26 there will be an annular eclipse of the Sun.

Image & info via APOD
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html
Image Credit & Copyright: Bill Jelen

#space #nasa #science #naturalphenomena #penumbraleclipse
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What are blue jets?
Red sprites and blue jets are upper atmospheric optical phenomena associated with thunderstorms.

For years, their existence has been debated: elusive electrical discharges in the upper atmosphere that sport names such as red sprites, blue jets, pixies and elves. Reported by pilots, they are difficult to study as they occur above thunderstorms.

ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen during his mission on the International Space Station in 2015 was asked to take pictures over thunderstorms with the most sensitive camera on the orbiting outpost to look for these brief features.

Denmark’s National Space Institute has now published the results, confirming many kilometre-wide blue flashes around 18 km altitude, including a pulsating blue jet reaching 40 km. A video recorded by Andreas as he flew over the Bay of Bengal at 28 800 km/h on the Station shows the electrical phenomena clearly – a first of its kind.

The emissions are related to the so-called blue jets, blue starters, and possibly pixies. The observations are the first of their kind and give a new perspective on the electrical activity at the top of tropical thunderstorms; further, they underscore that thunderstorm discharges directly perturb the chemistry of the stratosphere with possible implications for the Earth's radiation balance.

Watch the video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dY5F_gEexAY

Paper:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016GL071311/full

Source:
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/iriss/Blue_jets_studied_from_Space_Station

#space #ESA #bluejets #naturalphenomena #research 
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