Science is the poetry of Nature.

Contributing Authors


Dinosaur Tracks! | ©Col Ford & Natasha de Vere

Navajo Reservation in the Arizona high desert between the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. Arizona, US.

(via arizonanature)


Astronauts and cosmonauts—while getting to play with multibillion-dollar toys in space—also have an incredibly unique chance to view the Earth from a completely different perspective than many of us.

This perspective creates a newfound appreciation for our pale blue dot, as philosopher David Loy describes:

“To have that experience of awe is to, at least for the moment, let go of yourself, to transcend the sense of separation. So it’s not just that they were experiencing something other than them, but that they were, at some very deep level, integrating and realizing their interconnectedness with that beautiful blue-green ball.”

To the observer, borders seem to disappear as countries flow seamlessly into one another. Like a singular organism, Earth becomes something more than a map of divisions based upon ideology and geography.  Those who share this vantage point see Earth as one ecosystem, with all parts artfully woven together to create a perfect home for millions of plant and animal species. Conflicts between nations become less apparent, and the need for a united planetary society to protect our beautiful home becomes increasingly obvious and imperative.

This realization of the interconnectedness of all life on Earth and the need to protect it, dubbed the Overview Effect, has been reported among astronauts from the Apollo program all the way through to the current International Space Station astronauts.

Astronauts are counted among the few who get to observe the Earth from the outside with the naked eye. For those of us on the surface, NASA continues to release stunning images and video from their Earth-orbiting spacecraft. Let’s keep their funding coming, so that all of humanity has the chance to learn about the importance of our beautiful home in space!

Watch the short documentary “Overview” by The Planetary Collective, featuring commentary from experts and former Astronauts!

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#NASA   #Penny4NASA   #Space   #Earth   #TheOverviewEffect   #ISS   #EarthDay  #EarthDay2014  


#EarthDay: Mount Nyiragongo is a stratovolcano situated in the Virunga Mountains of the Albertine Rift inside Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The volcano has an elevation of 3,470 m (11,385 ft).

The main crater is about two km wide and usually contains a lava lake (see photo) that has at times been the most voluminous known lava lake in recent history. The depth of the lava lake varies considerably. Not much is known about how long the volcano has been erupting, but since 1882, it has erupted at least 34 times with the two most recent eruptions occurring in 1977 and 2002, both resulting in destruction of nearby human habitats and loss of lives, mostly due to asphyxiation by carbon dioxide.

Activity at Nyiragongo is ongoing, but currently confined to the crater.

Nyiragongo and nearby Nyamuragira are together responsible for 40% of Africa’s historical volcanic eruptions.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to a total of five different active and extinct volcanoes.


Bistahieversor - aka the ‘Bisti Beast’ – Goes to Washington

The BLM New Mexico’s regional paleontologist recently packed a Penske truck and took off for Washington D.C. The truck was filled with the most complete specimen of large carnivorous dinosaur ever found in the state of New Mexico — and it was found on BLM-administered land in the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area.

The Bistahieversor—affectionately known as the Bisti Beast—was a 30-foot tyrannosaur that roamed the Earth around 74 million years ago. It was a member of the same family as Tyrannosaurus rex, looked like a compact version of T.rex, and might have been one of its ancestors. This was an extremely rare find and is of exceptionally high scientific value. It is estimated that 40 to 60 percent of the skeleton was preserved.

The 41,170-acre wilderness area is a rolling landscape of badlands which offers some of the most unusual scenery found in the Four Corners Region. The wilderness area is composed of formations of interbedded sandstone, shale, mudstone, coal, and silt. Paleontologists have studied and researched this area for nearly a century. The Badlands feature an exposure of rocks known as the Fruitland/Kirtland Formations that represent a time near the end of the Cretaceous Period (approximately 75 to 80 million years ago). These continental sediments chronicle the time near the end of the Age of Dinosaurs. This sequence of rock formations is one of only four known in the world that record this transition and may help explain why the dinosaurs became extinct.

In 1998, the specimen was removed in two pieces after being encased in a protective plaster “jacket,” each weighing nearly a ton. Because the skeleton was located in a wilderness area, it was removed by Army National Guard helicopter and deposited on a large flatbed trailer for transport to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, in Albuquerque, N.M., where is has been housed ever since.

BLM and New Mexico Museum of Natural History staff packed the specimen for the three-day road trip to Washington, D.C., where it will be on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.


Underwater lung

Your average lung capacity is about 6 litres of air. But even after exhaling there will still be a residual volume of a little over a litre. This is a piece of pig lung being held underwater and squeezed, you can see the bubbles of air leaving the bronchiole tubes from the bottom. Check out the full lung dissection here:

(via Ross Exton)

Don’t forget to check out Ross Exton’s blog!


but can the science side of tumblr explain who got that loud???

  • Me: (after demonstrating a piece of software I had written to be used for quality reporting by Medicare health plans): So that's how it works, any questions?
  • Medicare Official: Wow, it's great. Who is the programmer?
  • Me: I am.
  • Medicare Official: But who actually wrote the code?
  • Me: That would be me...the programmer.
  • Because apparently Black, women programmers don't actually WRITE CODE. 10 years ago, at headquarters in Washington, D.C. I felt irritated at having to explain that yes, I am a REAL programmer.


The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile has captured this richly detailed new image of the Lagoon Nebula.

This giant cloud of gas and dust is creating intensely bright young stars, and is home to young stellar clusters. This image is a tiny part of just one of eleven public surveys of the sky now in progress using ESO telescopes. Together these are providing a vast legacy of publicly available data for the global astronomical community.

VST Images the Lagoon Nebula


IC 4603 - The Turbulent Heart of the Scorpion

This image shows the core region of the Rho Ophiuchi Complex, centered around the prominent blue reflection nebula IC 4603.

This is one of the nearest star forming regions and the intricacies of the dense interstellar dust clouds in the area provides a spectacular display of light and colours.

The bright star is 7.9 magnitude SAO184376 which is the main source of light for the blue reflection nebula. The contrasting red areas towards the top are primarily due to reflected light from the hearby red giant star Antares, which lies outside the field of view. The entire area is also littered with hundreds of dim reddish stars, which are typically very young T Tauri stars.


RIP LADEE: NASA Moon Probe Crashes Into Lunar Surface

NASA’s newest moon probe met its end during a vaporizing crash into the lunar surface last night.

The space agency’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft (LADEE for short) made its planned crash into the lunar surface between 12:30 a.m. EDT (0430 GMT) and 1:22 a.m. EDT (0522 GMT) on April 18, after orbiting the moon since October 2013. Scientists expected the impact, predicting that LADEE would hit the far side of the moon on or before April 21 because the probe was running out of fuel — as intended.

The impact itself was probably a violent event. NASA engineers think that the loveseat-sized probe broke apart as most of it heated up to several hundred degrees. It’s even possible that some of the material from the spacecraft vaporized during the crash, NASA officials said in a statement.


Last Summer, a team from the Museum’s Paleontology Division went looking for fossils in the Gobi Desert. The group included Aki Watanabe, a student at the Museum’s Richard Gilder Graduate School, who was chosen as a beta-tester for Google Glass.

In this video, Watanabe shows his first find: a fossil dinosaur nest! See how Watanabe extracts the eggs and nest to package it for its return to the lab for further study.

Learn more.


There’s a reason why Neil deGrasse Tyson’s views on race are completely overlooked and why even I was never aware of them until recently. Science nerds will make a billion photosets and quotes about the new Cosmos and speak on everything Neil gets into even the science of the fucking Mjölnir hammer from Thor or the science of Krypton. Anything Neil speaks on as a prominent figure in science gets circulated. But just like Albert Einstein’s celebrity scientist status had no effect on his vocal views against antiblack racism in America [and it’s now 2014 with the same shit different faces], Neil’s anti-racism views are also suppressed, downplayed, or ignored. It shows that the science community at large has a long way to go in terms of accepting the problem of racism and sexism it has and fails to bring to light as it does so frequently with more efforts to many other political subjects.

Full Moon over the Basilica of Don Bosco by Stefano De Rosa


First Earth-Size Planet That Could Support Life

For the first time, scientists have discovered an Earth-size alien planet in the habitable zone of its host star, an “Earth cousin” that just might have liquid water and the right conditions for life.

Image 1: This artist illustration shows what it might be like to stand on the surface of the planet Kepler-186f, the first-ever Earth-size planet to be found in the habitable zone of its star. Credit: Danielle Futselaa

Image 2: This artist illustration shows the planet Kepler-186f, the first Earth-size alien planet discovered in the habitable zone of its star. Credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-CalTech

The newfound planet, called Kepler-186f, was first spotted by NASA’s Kepler space telescope and circles a dim red dwarf star about 490 light-years from Earth. While the host star is dimmer than Earth’s sun and the planet is slightly bigger than Earth, the positioning of the alien world coupled with its size suggests that Kepler-186f could have water on its surface, scientists say. You can learn more about the amazing alien planet find in a video produced by

"One of the things we’ve been looking for is maybe an Earth twin, which is an Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a sunlike star," Tom Barclay, Kepler scientist and co-author of the new exoplanet research, told "This [Kepler-186f] is an Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a cooler star. So, while it’s not an Earth twin, it is perhaps an Earth cousin. It has similar characteristics, but a different parent."

Scientists think that Kepler-186f — the outermost of five planets found to be orbiting the star Kepler-186 — orbits at a distance of 32.5 million miles (52.4 million kilometers), theoretically within the habitable zone for a red dwarf.

Earth orbits the sun from an average distance of about 93 million miles (150 million km), but the sun is larger and brighter than the Kepler-186 star, meaning that the sun’s habitable zone begins farther out from the star by comparison to Kepler-186.

"This is the first definitive Earth-sized planet found in the habitable zone around another star," Elisa Quintana, of the SETI Institute and NASA’s Ames Research Center and the lead author of a new study detailing the findings, said in a statement.

Other planets of various sizes have been found in the habitable zones of their stars. However, Kepler-186f is the first alien planet this close to Earth in size found orbiting in that potentially life-supporting area of an extrasolar system, according to exoplanet scientists.


The ornate mantis shrimp, Odontodactylus scyallarus is one of the most colorful crustaceans. It is a predator that hunts other crustacaeans as well as mollusks, worms, and even fish. (Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea) by David Hall


The ornate mantis shrimp, Odontodactylus scyallarus is one of the most colorful crustaceans. It is a predator that hunts other crustacaeans as well as mollusks, worms, and even fish. (Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea) by David Hall

(via kenobi-wan-obi)