Samantha Cristoforetti aboard ISS captured lightning flashing inside Tropical Cyclone Bansi a couple of days ago, as the space station flew above the Indian Ocean. At the time, Bansi was a strong cyclone equivalent to a Category 4 storm with a symmetric eye. Simply one of the most amazing and breathtaking weather photos I have ever seen!
Cloud streets are long rows of cumulus clouds that are oriented parallel to the direction of the wind. They’re formed by convection rolls of rising warm air and sinking cool air, and ultimately become oriented parallel to the direction of the wind. Check out some cool images of cloud streets, inside.
It’s official. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) confirmed on January 16, 2015 that 2014 was Earth’s warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880. The year 2010 owned the title for warmest year prior to 2014, with 2005 and 1998 just behind it. It might have been cool where you lived, but most of the globe was experiencing temperatures well above average. The report also says that global oceans experienced the warmest year ever recorded, making ocean temps in 2014 the highest among all years in the 1880–2014 record, and surpassing the previous records of 1998 and 2003 by 0.09°F (0.05°C).
Warming in the Arctic during 2014 continued to outpace the warming at lower latitudes, according to the Arctic Report Card that was released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on December 17, 2014. Higher levels of warming in the Arctic have been commonplace over much of the past decade.
Over a billion people in China and millions around the world will celebrate the first day of the Chinese New Year on February 18-19, 2015. It’ll be February 18 according to U.S. calendars, and February 19 in Asia. It’s the most important of Chinese holidays, kicking off a celebration that lasts for 15 days …
The next eclipse is a total eclipse of the sun on April 4. Want more? Follow the links inside to learn the dates for upcoming solar and lunar eclipses in 2015 and 2016. Enjoy.
Eclipses of the sun and moon excite more interest than any other event in astronomy. And no wonder. It’s a thrill to go outdoors, witness these grand spectacles of nature, and stand in line with the sun, Earth and moon. How rare are these events? Follow the links inside to learn more about lunar and solar eclipses.
Project Nightflight – a team of astrophotographers, led by Karoline Mrazek and Erwin Matys in Vienna, Austria – has just released a beautiful new project, which they are calling Sounds of the Night. It consists of multimedia astrophotos – not just a beautiful night sky, but also the sounds you’d have heard if you’d been there with them taking the photos. Look inside for the link to the project, which will let you see astrophotos accompanied by the sounds of ocean waves, crickets chirping, nocturnal birds and more.
After the Quadrantid meteor shower in early January each year, we have a lull in meteor shower activity. No major showers are predicted between now and the second half of April, when the Lyrid meteor shower will take place. Between now and then, we also have fireball season, which happens for a few weeks around the March equinox. Follow the links inside to learn more about what to expect for meteor showers over the coming months.
There’s news this week from the ongoing meeting of astronomers in Seattle about the wonderful Fermi Bubbles, a vast apparent shock wave feature discovered in 2010, extending above and below the plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Astronomers have ingeniously used the light of a quasar to probe one of the bubbles, greatly increasing what we know about it. They’ve learned, among other things, that a wind is blowing from our galaxy’s core, driving the material that pushes the bubbles outward, at some 2 million miles per hour (3 million kph).