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Scents of Science

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Natural Phenomena

A Full Circle Rainbow over Norway

Have you ever seen an entire rainbow? From the ground, typically, only the top portion of a rainbow is visible because directions toward the ground have fewer raindrops. From the air, though, the entire 360-degree circle of a rainbow is more commonly visible. Pictured... Continue Reading →

Milky Way Auroral Flower

Could the stem of our Milky Way bloom into an auroral flower? No, not really, even though it may appear that way in today’s featured all-sky image. On the left, the central plane of our home galaxy extends from the horizon past the middle of the sky.... Continue Reading →

Sun Rings in New Month with Strong Flare

The Sun released an X1 solar flare, a powerful burst of energy, captured by Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) on Oct. 2, 2022. X-class are the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. For instance, an X1 flare is half... Continue Reading →

Staring Into the Hurricane’s Eye

The Operational Land Imager aboard the Landsat 8 satellite captured this natural-color image of Hurricane Ian’s eye on Sept. 28, 2022 at 11:57 a.m. EDT (15:57 UTC), three hours before the storm crashed into the coast in Caya Costa, Fla. When Ian’s eyewall made landfall, its maximum... Continue Reading →

Star Trails and Lightning over the Pyrenees

The beauty in this image comes in layers. On the bottom layer is the picturesque village of Manlleu in Barcelona, Spain. The six-minute exposure makes car lights into streaks. The next layer is a mountain -- Serra de Bellmunt -- of Europe's famous Pyrenees. Next up is a tremendous lightning... Continue Reading →

Solar Orbiter solves magnetic switchback mystery

With data from its closest pass of the Sun yet, the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft has found compelling clues as to the origin of magnetic switchbacks, and points towards how their physical formation mechanism might help accelerate the solar wind.... Continue Reading →

Harvest Moon over Sicily

For northern hemisphere dwellers, September's Full Moon was the Harvest Moon. Reflecting warm hues at sunset it rises over the historic town of Castiglione di Sicilia in this telephoto view from September 9. Famed in festival, story, and song Harvest Moon is just the traditional name... Continue Reading →

Red Sprite Lightning over the Czech Republic

What are those red filaments in the sky? They are a rarely seen form of lightning confirmed only about 35 years ago: red sprites. Research has shown that following a powerful positive cloud-to-ground lightning strike, red sprites may start as 100-meter balls of ionized air that shoot down from about 80-km... Continue Reading →

An Iridescent Pileus Cloud over China

Yes, but how many dark clouds have a multicolored lining? Pictured, behind this darker cloud, is a pileus iridescent cloud, a group of water droplets that have a uniformly similar size and so together diffract different colors of sunlight by different amounts. The featured image was taken... Continue Reading →

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