Astronomer Stephen Edberg captured this sequence of the full moon as it enters Earth's shadow and then is completely covered by it on August 28, 2007. The moon's passes through nearly the same portion of Earth's shadow during the total lunar eclipse on April 14-15, 2014 but the coloring may be different. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the Earth into its umbra (shadow). This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, a lunar eclipse can only occur the night of a full moon. The type and length of an eclipse depend upon the Moon's location relative to its orbital nodes. When the Moon travels completely into the Earth's umbra, one observes a total lunar eclipse.
A little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) affected by White nose syndrome hanging at Greeley Mine in Stockbridge, Vermont. White-nose syndrome is a disease affecting hibernating bats, named for the white fungus (Geomyces destructans) that appears on the muzzle and other body parts. WNS is associated with extensive mortality of bats in eastern North America. First documented in New York in the winter of 2006-2007, WNS has spread rapidly across the eastern United States and Canada, and the fungus that causes WNS has been detected as far west as Oklahoma.
A bumblebee (Bombus grisecollis) in flight. Bumblebees are important pollinators. As the bee sucks nectar from the flower, it rubs against the stamens - picking up grains of pollen. Each pollen grain contains a male gamete which, when deposited on another plant of the same species, can fertilize an ovule and produce seeds. Bumble bees are sociable but have relatively few members in their colonies; often fewer than 50 individuals. They feed on nectar and gather pollen for their young. They are one of the few insects able to regulate their temperature, using both solar radiation and internal cooling and warming mechanisms.
The Opah was the first warm-blooded fish to be discovered in May of 2015. It has a large, round body about the size of a car tire and dwells about 1,300 feet below the ocean's surface. Having warm blood allows the Opah to remain deep down in the water for longer periods of time than most other fish.
"New research has questioned the role played by ocean acidification, produced by the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs, in the extinction of ammonites and other planktonic calcifiers 66 million years ago." - University of Southampton, May 11, 2015
The Salton Sea, an inland saline lake in Southern California, is a haven for many different bird species. Following the extended and devastating draughts in California, much of this landscape is as dry as a desert and risks losing its bio-diversity.
The cherry tree, or prunus serrulata, blossoms in Spring. The tree is native to the Himalayas but grows in temperate zones of the Nothern Hemisphere including Europe, West Siberia, South Korea, China, Japan, and the United States.
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The Spring Snowflake (or Leucojum vernum, Amaryllidaceae) is native to central and southern Europe and now parts of North America. It is one of the first flowers to bloom after the winter snow melts.
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"The camouflage and mimicry techniques that animals use to avoid becoming a meal aren't much use against a predator using echolocation. But a new study shows that moths can outsmart sonar with a flick of their long tails. Using high-speed infrared cameras and ultrasonic microphones, the researchers watched brown bats preying on moths. Luna moths with tails were 47 percent more likely to survive an attack than moths without tails. Bats targeted the tail during 55 percent of the interactions, suggesting the moths may lure bats to the tails to make an attack more survivable." - Science Daily, University of Florida, February 18, 2015, Moths shed light on how to fool enemy sonar
"Scientists have discovered how prized bluefin tuna keep their hearts pumping during temperature changes that would stop a human heart. The research helps to answer important questions about how animals react to rapid temperature changes, knowledge that's becoming more essential as the earth warms. Pacific bluefin tuna are top predators renowned for their epic migrations across the Pacific Ocean. They are also unique amongst bony fish as they are warm bodied (endothermic) and are capable of elevating their core body temperature up to 20°C above that of the surrounding water. They are also capable of diving down below 1000 m into much colder water which affects the temperature of their heart." - How tuna stay warm with cold hearts, February 5, 2015, Manchester University
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Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) basking on a rock. The green turtle lives in warm seas throughout the world. It usually stays close to coasts, feeding on aquatic plants. It can grow up to 1.5 meters in length and weigh up to 200 kilograms. The female green turtle usually returns to the beach where she was born to lay her eggs.
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The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the world's largest coral reef system composed of over 900 islands stretching for over 2600 km. It is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia.
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The bearded vulture, also known as the lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus), is found in Europe, India and Africa. This vulture is a specialized, solitary scavenger that feeds almost exclusively on bone. It will patrol a large mountain territory, looking for the cleaned skeleton of a carcass. Small bones are digested whole and larger bones are dropped from a height to break them open and expose the bone marrow. This vulture has strong gastric juices that enable it to digest bone. The bearded vulture, found in Europe, Asia, and Africa, is endangered in part of its range. This medium-sized vulture has a wingspan of around 2.5 meters.
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The center of the planet Mars is at latitude 30 degrees north, longitude 270 degrees. NASA's Viking Mission to Mars was composed of two spacecraft, Viking 1 and Viking 2, each consisting of an orbiter and a lander. The primary mission objectives were to obtain high resolution images of the Martian surface, characterize the structure and composition of the atmosphere and surface, and search for evidence of life. The results from the Viking experiments give our most complete view of Mars to date. Volcanoes, lava plains, immense canyons, cratered areas, wind-formed features, and evidence of surface water are apparent in the Orbiter images. The planet appears to be divisible into two main regions, northern low plains and southern cratered highlands. Superimposed on these regions are the Tharsis and Elysium bulges, which are high-standing volcanic areas, and Valles Marineris, a system of giant canyons near the equator. The surface material at both landing sites can best be characterized as iron-rich clay. Measured temperatures at the landing sites ranged from 150 to 250 K, with a variation over a given day of 35 to 50 K. Seasonal dust storms, pressure changes, and transport of atmospheric gases between the polar caps were observed. The biology experiment produced no evidence of life at either landing site. June 1998.
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Millions of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) migrate south to over-winter deep inside the Michoacan forests of Mexico. When the forest warms during the late morning, the butterflies take wing and move down the mountain, where they congregate in the meadows, landing to drink from the dew-covered plants.
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Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by Rosetta's OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on August 3, 2014 from a distance of 285 km. Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko is the object of study of the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission, which rendezvoused with the comet three days later. The Rosetta spacecraft will enter the comet's orbit and identify a site for its Philae lander, which will achieve the first landing on a comet nucleus.
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"BUTTE, Mont. - Once routinely trapped and shot as varmints, their dams obliterated by dynamite and bulldozers, beavers are getting new respect these days. Across the West, they are being welcomed into the landscape as a defense against the withering effects of a warmer and drier climate." - Jim Robbins, Reversing Course on Beavers, The New York Times, October 27, 2014