Earth is a spectacularly beautiful, diverse place: filled to the brim with millions of species of plants and animals, mindblowing features that seem to defy the laws of nature and a numerous number of unique locations. Unfortunately, only a small number of individuals have the means and opportunity to visit all of these places.
Which moon is this? Earth’s. Our Moon’s unfamiliar appearance is due partly to an unfamiliar viewing angle as captured by a little-known spacecraft — the Soviet Union’s Zond 8 that circled the Moon in October of 1970.
This is a classic exercise for visualizing just how big our Solar System really is. Both the relative size and spacing of the planets are demonstrated in this outdoor exercise, using a grapefruit to represent the size of the Sun.
What’s happening over the water? Pictured above is one of the better images yet recorded of a waterspout, a type of tornado that occurs over water. Waterspouts are spinning columns of rising moist air that typically form over warm water. Waterspouts can be as dangerous as tornadoes and can feature wind speeds over 200 kilometers per hour. Some waterspouts form away from thunderstormsand even during relatively fair weather. Waterspouts may be relatively transparent and initially visible only by an unusual pattern they create on the water. The above image was taken earlier this month nearTampa Bay, Florida. The Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida is arguably the most active area in the world for waterspouts, with hundreds forming each year. Some people speculate that waterspouts are responsible for some of the losses recorded in the Bermuda Triangle.
In this true-colour satellite image, we see flooding in Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani Provinces in Central Thailand (right), compared to before the flooding (left).
The Chao Phraya River forms at the confluence of smaller rivers in central Thailand, and flows southward to the Gulf of Thailand. En route to the sea, the river passes through Ayutthaya. First established in the fourteenth century, Ayutthaya lies north of Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok, and the floods plaguing Thailand in October 2011 did not spare this historic city.
This half-sunken sea-liner is named the World Discoverer. It met its fate on April 30th, 2000, when it hit an uncharted reef in the Solomon Islands. Now it has become a popular tourist attraction and is visible from space on Google Maps.
Before the wreck, this expedition cruise-liner was used by several companies. Each season, just over 700 tourists traveled to Antarctica on the World Discoverer.