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Ghost lights: Believe if you dare

Marfa lights – or not – from papiblogger.com.

Ghost lights used to be called will-o-the-wisps. They were a weird glow over swamps or bogs. Nowadays, people report strange lights in the sky in all sorts of places. Some are more famous than others. The ghost lights closest to me are in the desert-like Davis Mountains near Marfa, Texas, but you can also see them in the Brown Mountains of North Carolina, and other places in North America. There are modern, very ordinary explanations for these lights. Yet people still love to try to spot them. Follow the links inside to some samples of North American ghost lights.

Extraordinary shot of moon’s far side and Earth, from Chang’e

View larger. |  Chinese Chang'e 5 test vehicle captured this extraordinary view of Earth over the far side of the moon on  October 28, 2014.

View of Earth over the far side of the moon on October 28, 2014, via Chinese Chang’e 5 test vehicle. Image via CNSA (China National Space Agency)

The Chinese Chang’e 5 test vehicle captured this extraordinary view of Earth over the far side of the moon yesterday. From Earth, the phase of the moon was a waxing crescent. From the moon, the Earth is in a waning gibbous phase. More detail about features visible on this photo on the far side of the moon, inside.

Why are these biologists dressed up as whooping cranes?

A whooping crane costume worn by biologists. Image Credit: Steve Hillebrand, USFWS. A whooping crane costume worn by biologists. Image Credit:

Costumes aren’t just for Halloween. These biologists are dressed as whooping cranes to care for chicks that will eventually be released into the wild.

Exciting Rosetta space mission inspires a magical short film

Everything about the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission – which, in August, caught up to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and began moving in tandem with it – has been fantastic so far. And now – just weeks before Rosetta will send a lander to the surface of its comet – ESA and Platige Image have released a very good short film, called Ambition. It’s not a space documentary, or like any film about space exploration you’ve ever seen.

Three amazing feats of spiders

Halloween time is spider time. Three amazing spider skills you might not have known about. Like, did you know spiders can dance?

Lifeform of the week: Vampires are real!

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You might think twice about walking down that dark alley alone after learning about the nefarious habits of the vampire bat, squid and finch.

Favorite scary weather scenes in horror movies

You know the scary movie where a crazed killer chases a person in an old, abandoned house. There’s aways a thunderstorm, right? Here my picks of favorite scary weather scenes in horror movies, starting with Frankenstein. How could the Frankenstein monster be born without a good thunderstorm with plenty of lightning?

Dates of lunar and solar eclipses in 2015 and 2016

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.

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.

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.