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Fake image of India during Diwali versus the real thing

This image of India has been circulating on the Internet for years. Some claim it shows India during Diwali, but it does not. It’s a real satellite image alright, but it’s composite image, with several different years of lighting combined together. Image via U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program

Have you seen this image? It’s a fake.

The Hindu festival of Diwali celebrates the victory of Good over the Evil and Light over Darkness. It also marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year. Lighting lamps, candles, and fireworks are a big part of Diwali. It’s a celebration of light! But can you see those celebratory lights from space? The answer is no.

Dates of lunar and solar eclipses in 2014 and 2015

Solar eclipse November 3, 2013 by Ken Christison

Solar eclipse November 3, 2013 by Ken Christison

The next eclipse is a partial eclipse of the sun on October 23. It’ll be visible in North America. Miss it, or want more? Follow the links inside to learn the dates for upcoming solar and lunar eclipses for the rest of 2014 and 2015. Enjoy.

Is it possible to have three eclipses in one month?

solar-eclipse-annular

Is it possible to have three eclipses in one month? Yes, it’s possible. You can have two solar eclipses and one lunar eclipse in one month. Or you can have two lunar eclipses and one solar eclipse in one month. However, it’s quite rare to have three eclipses in one calendar month. Follow the links inside to learn more about past and future months in which there are three eclipses.

Solar eclipse marked beginning of Iroquois Confederacy

Iroquois, one of the historical figures of the Maisonneuve Monument, by Louis-Philippe Hébert, 1895, Place d’Armes, Montreal. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

My wife Alice regularly brings home the Indian Time news journal, a publication by the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation Territory in northern New York. It was with great interest that I came across an article titled “Dating the Iroquois Confederacy” by Bruce E. Johansen. What really attracted my attention was that a total, or near total, solar eclipse marked the beginning of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, the oldest living democracy in North America and possibly on Earth.

Lifeform of the week: Corpse flower

Image Credit: Graham Racher

Image Credit: Graham Racher

To kick off the Halloween season of candy consumption, costume concocting and ghost story telling, I present to you a most fiendish lifeform, one that lurks in the dark and spooky rainforests of southeast Asia leeching life from innocent tree roots: a strange entity known as the corpse flower.

New seafloor map reveals thousands of seamounts

Satellite model of the North Atlantic Ocean. Image Credit: David Sandwell, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.

Satellite model of the North Atlantic Ocean. Image Credit: David Sandwell, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.

Vast unexplored areas of the ocean have now been mapped with new satellite data and scientists have discovered thousands of previously uncharted seamounts in addition to an extinct spreading ridge in the Gulf of Mexico.

Hundreds of millions of South Asians at risk from glacier melt

A roadside market along the way from Kabul to Mazer-i-Sharif, Afghanistan. Hundreds of millions of people in countries near the Hindu Kush mountain range are at risk from glacial melt. Photo credit: Susan Novak/Flickr

A roadside market along the way from Kabul to Mazer-i-Sharif, Afghanistan. Hundreds of millions of people in countries near the Hindu Kush mountain range are at risk from glacial melt. Photo credit: Susan Novak/Flickr

Few regions on Earth depend as heavily on glaciers for food, energy and water as South Asia’s Hindu Kush Himalayan ecosystem. But now hundreds of millions in South Asia are at risk from glacier melt. A new research paper in the journal Environmental Science and Policy highlights some of the challenges downstream communities face when glacier water from upstream communities becomes scarce.

First-ever image of 5th order rainbow!

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Enhanced image of 5th order rainbow. Photo by Harald Edens.

The familiar primary and secondary rainbows have been known since there were eyes. The long sought 3rd and 4th order rainbows were finally imaged in 2011. Now we have the 5th order!

Comet Siding Spring’s near-miss of Mars was October 19

Comet Siding Spring closest to Mars on October 19, 2914.  Image via Virtual Telescope Project.  Read more about this image.

Comet Siding Spring closest to Mars on October 19, 2914. Image via Virtual Telescope Project.

The close pass of Comet Siding Spring to Mars was exciting! Closest approach was October 19. Watch for more photos from the event – both from earthly observers and from the spacecraft orbiting Mars and on Mars’ surface – here at EarthSky.org.

Why do trees shed their leaves in the fall?

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Autumn leaves. Image Credit: Tracy Ducasse.

Something to think about while raking …