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Photos

Giant sunspot AR2403

The still image shows AR2403 as the separated group as it appeared on August 26.  image via NASA/SDO.

The still image shows AR2403 as the separated group as it appeared on August 26. image via NASA/SDO.

The large group of sunspots known to scientists as AR2403 has now rotated out of view, around the sun’s limb, but it was spectacular when it was visible. As the sun spun on its axis, it appeared to move across the sun’s visible face over six days, from August 21 to 26, 2015, starting out as a single cluster, and gradually separating into distinct groups. See more photos from the EarthSky community of photographers.

Venus and Mars before dawn

View larger. | Venus and Mars on August 30, 2015 as captured by Dennis Chabot.

Venus and Mars on August 30, 2015 as captured by Dennis Chabot. Congratulations, Dennis!

Venus has returned to the east before dawn. Mars is up there, too, but not nearly as bright. See Venus, and capture Mars now with binoculars or in photos.

Ethereal beach

View larger. | Cannon Beach, Oregon by Jeff Berkes Photography.

Cannon Beach, Oregon by Jeff Berkes Photography. He titled this photo Ethereal.

No photo in our social media last week had had as much positive feedback as this one, which Jeff Berkes posted at EarthSky Facebook. He wrote:

I still can not believe that I had the opportunity to witness a view as heavenly as this.

Nearby galaxy in Triangulum

Image credit: ESO

Image credit: ESO

It’s a beauty! Also known as Messier 33, it’s about three million light-years away – the second closest large galaxy to our own Milky Way.

The survivor

View larger. | 'Bristlecone Survivor,' by Daniel McVey.  Visit Daniel McVey's website.

‘Bristlecone Survivor’ by Daniel McVey.

Daniel McVey wrote:

Stripped of its bark, tortured by the elements, and survivor to an axe, this bristlecone tree stands with others in a forest over a 1,000 years old near Alma, Colorado.

Young moon and Mercury from Zimbabwe

Because Peter Lowenstein lives in the Southern Hemisphere, he was fortunate enough to see the young waxing crescent moon and the planet Mercury in the western sky after sunset on August 16, 2015. In fact, the Southern Hemisphere will be enjoying Mercury’s best evening apparition of the year in August and September 2015. At temperate latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, Mercury will set after nightfall for the next four weeks!

Great Perseid photos here

View larger. Sean Parker reports,

View larger. Sean Parker reports, “The photo was taken August 8th in Joshua Tree National Park. Even with 30% moonlight we were still able to see quite a few! Definitely a great meteor shower!” Thank you Sean!

Have you seen Perseid meteors in your sky? If you have had cloudy skies – or even if not – enjoy these images from all around the world.

Three planets and star, from Zimbabwe

View larger. Indeed, Peter Lowenstein in Zimbabwe caught the planets Mercury, Venus and Jupiter at dusk on August 7, 2015. Venus is off by herself to the left. The triangle of lights to the right: Regulus (brightest star in te constellation Virgo) at top, Jupiter at bottom and Mercury in between. Thank you Peter!

View larger. Indeed, Peter Lowenstein in Zimbabwe caught the planets Mercury, Venus and Jupiter at dusk on August 7, 2015. Venus is off by herself to the left. The triangle of lights to the right: Regulus (brightest star in the constellation Leo) at top, Jupiter at bottom and Mercury in between. Thank you Peter!

Inside, we show you six of Peter’s wonderful photos of the western sky after sunset on August 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, 2015. Notice how fast Mercury is soaring upward by the day, and how quickly Venus and Jupiter are sinking! Click here to see Peter’s youtube animation of the planets from August 3 to 8!

Artichoke in bloom

View larger. | Photo by Donna Severson of Plum Wild Photography in Aloha, Oregon.

Photo by Donna Severson of Plum Wild Photography in Aloha, Oregon.

Donna told us she created this photo using a ladder, a macro lens and nature’s sunlight.

Cloud over Mono Craters in California

Photo by Kurt Harvey

Photo by Kurt Harvey

Lenticular altocumulus cloud over Mono Craters in the eastern Sierra, California.