Lunar fogbow? Beautiful, whatever you call it

January 10, 2017

I follow Phil Plait to get smart and stay informed about the stars and the universe.

Sometimes it’s just the sheer beauty one finds that wakes you up.

Phil posted this on Twitter, a lunar fogbow:

From Twitter, Phil Plait: Göran Strand (@astrofotografen) captured a VERY rare sight: a lunar fogbow! http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2016/12/26/g_ran_strand_photo_of_a_very_rare_lunar_fogbow.html …

From Twitter, Phil Plait: Göran Strand (@astrofotografen) captured a VERY rare sight: a lunar fogbow! http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2016/12/26/g_ran_strand_photo_of_a_very_rare_lunar_fogbow.html

Plait’s explanations are fun:

Göran Strand is an amazing astrophotographer whose work I’ve highlighted here many times. He has an astonishing skill in making beautiful photographs out of rare and bizarre phenomena.

It’s not just a beautiful photograph. It’s a rather rare phenomenon beautifully captured by Göran Strand, and wonderfully explained by Plait at his blog at Slate:

And here he is once again: That photo above shows that’s quite uncommon sigh: a fogbow! But this being Strand, even that’s not unusual enough. For him, it had to be even more difficult to track down. That’s not just a fogbow, it’s a lunar fogbow!

Fogbows are similar to rainbows, in that they’re caused by water droplets, but in detail they’re very different. In a rainbow, sunlight is bent and reflected inside a raindrop, and sent off at an angle. The drops are big compared to the wavelength of light, so they act a bit like mirrors. Each color of sunlight, though, bends at a slightly different angle, separating them, creating the multihued rainbow.

Plait’s got more good science explanation. Go see.

Strand has photos to sell in various formats. I see in a lot of offices, “inspirational” posters with good photos and occasionally-pithy-but-often-banal sayings and platitudes, hoped by bosses to spur productivity on the cheap. Order up a sizable print from Strand, get the full description of the photo, and mount it in your office instead. You’re likely to discover than genuine natural beauty from awe-inspiring photos spurs creativity and productivity more than the stock photos and stock sayings.

Those photos are starting points for learning, too, teachers. Real photos, worthy of any history, economics, geography, astronomy, chemistry, physics, geological science or environmental science class.

Try ’em and see.

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Snow geese coming at you

January 3, 2017

Wildlife photographer Nancy J. Warner caught a breathtaking view with dozens (hundreds?) of snow geese taking off, flying directly at her.

Nancy J. Wagner on Twitter: Seeing 1000s of #snow #geese flying towards me was breathtaking. Looks chaotic, but they take to the air very methodically. #Skagit #birding

Nancy J. Wagner on Twitter: Seeing 1000s of #snow #geese flying towards me was breathtaking. Looks chaotic, but they take to the air very methodically. #Skagit #birding

I’m not familiar with Ms. Wagner’s work, but it seems we should be. Wagner shoots wildlife that would make nice adornments for your home and office walls, truly inspiring.


Milky Way over the Vermilion Cliffs

November 30, 2016

Oh, there’s a little technical wizardry involved in this one, stitching it together.

But, wow!

White Pocket in the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona. Brilliant photography and stitching by Dave Lane Astrohotography, via the U.S. Department of Interior.

White Pocket in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona. Brilliant photography and stitching by Dave Lane Astrophotography, via the U.S. Department of Interior.

A more full description from Interior’s Facebook page:

Located in a remote and unspoiled part of northern Arizona, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is a geologic treasure. For those who can’t get a permit to places like The Wave, White Pocket is an equally stunning place to explore — day or night. Pictured here, the area’s unusual rock formation is crowned by the Milky Way with Saturn, Mars and the Rho Ophiuchus region all visible. Multi-image photo (42 images stitched together in a 6 x 7 matrix) courtesy of David Lane (Dave Lane Astrophotography).

Dave Lane’s work amazes, doesn’t it?

Tip of the old scrub brush to Kathryn Knowles.

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Tree and Milky Way, but where?

October 26, 2016

Nice photo, a starry sky showing part of the Milky Way, and a great tree, probably painted with a flashlight.

But, where in the world is it?

Tweet from Fotos del Mundo, @FerloRuiz

Tweet from Fotos del Mundo, @FerloRuiz

Dear Reader, do you know where this photo was taken? Who should get credit?


Moonrise at Granite Mountain Wilderness, California

October 26, 2016

Your public lands at work, filling you with awe.

From BLM National's Twitter feed: A full moon 🌕 lights up the sky at Granite Mountain Wilderness, #California. (Photo: Bob Wick)

From BLM National’s Twitter feed: A full moon 🌕 lights up the sky at Granite Mountain Wilderness, #California. (Photo: Bob Wick)

BLM National put this photo up on September 30, so we might assume the photo is from September’s Moon, as well.

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Night shot, Kolob Reservoir Road (Zion National Park)

October 20, 2016

Cousin Amanda Holland sends snapshots from her science work.

“Evening drive along Kolob Reservoir Road, west end of Zion NP.” Photo by Amanda Holland; used with some permission, all rights reserved

Scientists in the field find beauty denied the casual visitor or even serious tourist — which is one of the great attractions of a science job, in the field.

Another view of why we love the American West, why we love the mountains, why we love the deserts.


Chess games of the rich and famous: Attica Prison, 1972

June 3, 2016

Well, maybe chess game of the not rich and not famous.

“Attica Correctional Facility, New York 1972, Cornell Capa #photography.” @Paolo1264

Chess is a great way to soothe a fevered mind, relax, and strengthen reasoning skills.

Photo by Cornell Capa:

Cornell Capa (April 10, 1918 – May 23, 2008) was a Hungarian American photographer, member of Magnum Photos, and photo curator, and the younger brother of photo-journalist and war photographer Robert Capa. Graduating from Imre Madách Gymnasium in Budapest, he initially intended to study medicine, but instead joined his brother in Paris to pursue photography. Cornell was an ambitious photo enthusiast who founded the world-known International Center of Photography in New York in 1974[2] with help from Micha Bar-Am after a stint of working for both Life magazine and Magnum Photos.

I wonder who were the two men playing the game? What happened to them?

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