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Top 9 EarthSky images of 2019

Thanks to all who posted this year at EarthSky Community Photos. If you have a great recent photo of the Earth or sky, submit it here.

Billowing smoke from a chimney, with the moon and Venus visible to one side.
View larger at EarthSky Community Photos. | As 2019 began, the eastern sky before sunup featured 3 bright planets, Venus, Jupiter qad Saturn. In late January and early February, the moon swept through. Karl Diefenderfer in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, caught the waning moon, with bright Venus above right, on February 1, 2019. He wrote: “Chilly start to the day at -4F.” Thank you, Karl. View more morning planet photos from early 2019.

EarthSky 2020 lunar calendars are available! They make great gifts. Order now. Going fast!

Tall, narrow waterfall in snowy landscape lit by an orange glow.
View larger at EarthSky Community Photo. | Mike Mezeul II captured what’s called “firefall” at Yosemite National Park on February 17, 2019. He wrote: “For two weeks out of the year, a spectacular event known as the firefall takes place within Yosemite National Park. Hundreds if not thousands of photographers flock to the valley in hopes of capturing the elusive moment, that is, if the weather, snow and light cooperate. If Yosemite receives an ample amount of snowfall throughout the winter, and if the western horizon stays clear, the last few minutes of daylight fall perfectly upon Horsetail Falls and illuminate it in a vibrant orange and red. The waterfall glows so fiercely that it appears to be on fire. Yesterday, after the valley received several feet of snow for a few days, one last clearing snowstorm led to the perfect mix of ingredients. Water flowing from the beautiful Horsetail Falls and a dazzling mix of broken clouds floating past El Capitan as the sunset set the fall ablaze.” Thank you, Mike!
Vast green dragon-like aurora nearly filling the sky with a person standing on snowy lanscape.
Jingyi Zhang and Wang Zheng captured this stunning dragon shape in an aurora over Iceland in early February 2019. The image ran as the Astronomy Picture of the Day for February 18, 2019, which wrote: “This iconic display was so enthralling that the photographer’s mother ran out to see it and was captured in the foreground.” View more aurora photos from that same awesome night.
Black sunspot and its orange halo on grainy orange surface of sun, tiny Earth beside sun for scale.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | It has been a quiet year for sunspots. We’re near the lowest ebb of the 11-year sunspot cycle. But, in April 2019, a magnificent solitary sunspot – AR2738 – made its way across the sun’s face over a period of a couple of weeks. Padraic Koen in Adelaide, Australia, caught this closeup of sunspot AR2738 on April 14, 2019. Thank you, Padraic. View more photos of AR2738.
Shining blue clouds at night. Silhouette of Dutch windmill. Reflections in water.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | The month of June always brings new sightings of noctilucent clouds – also called night-shining clouds – at northerly latitudes. These clouds are a seasonal phenomenon. Hans Van Boven wrote, “Beautiful noctilucent clouds were observed above the Netherlands in the night from 12 to 13 June 2019.” Thank you, Hans! View more photos of noctilucent clouds in 2019, along with an explanation of what makes these clouds.
Rainbow over a rocky waterfall with bright short lines, star trails, in night sky above.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Fred Walder captured this rainbow and waterfall on June 17, 2019, in California’s Yosemite National Park. The streaks in the sky above – captured in a long-exposure photo – are called star trails. View more star trail photos.
Sun midway up in the sky, the black moon silhouette in front of it, people stand on a beach under a darkened sky.
View larger. | July 2, 2019, brought a total eclipse of the sun. Here’s the scene on a beach during totality in La Serena, Chile – darkness during the daytime at mid-eclipse – as captured by our friend Eliot Herman. Thank you, Eliot! View more eclipse photos by Eliot, and still more eclipse photos by other EarthSky community members. Thanks to all!
Milky Way and many thin streaks in sky, orange horizon, silhouette of a tree.
August, of course, is the month of the Perseid meteor shower. Astrophotographer Ruslan Merzlyakov wrote: “Proud to present the biggest project I have ever made! Perseid meteor shower 2019 over Scandinavia’s first dark sky park, the island of Møn [in Denmark]. Five nights. Two cameras. Fifteen hours of observation. Some 3000+ images. Over 70 GB of data.” Thank you, Ruslan!
Beautiful twilight sky above a marina, sailboats in foreground, with Venus directly below the crescent moon.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Claire Shickora was at Blythe Island Regional Park, Brunswick, Georgia, on Thanksgiving evening – November 28, 2019 – when she caught this beautiful image. She wrote: “After a spectacular sunset at the marina, the clouds broke up enough for me to get this shot (from right to left) of Jupiter, Venus, the moon, and barely-visible Saturn. Passersby were awed as I pointed out exactly what I was photographing.” Thank you, Claire! View more photos of the moon and planets in the evening sky, around Thanksgiving.

Bottom line: Nine favorite EarthSky images in 2019. Of course … they’re all our favorites. Thanks to all who submitted photos in 2019! Visit EarthSky Community Photos, or submit your photo here.

December 29, 2019
Human World

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