I’ve been writing so many explanations about cool pictures from space that I think I’ll take a short break and just simply post this astonishingly beautiful shot, taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station, showing the curling and delicate-appearing ice floes in the ocean off the east coast of Kamchatka, swirling as they drift due to the eddy currents and wind:
[Click to enthalpinate.]
Our planet is pretty lovely, even in conditions that might kill us on the ground. Amazing.
Image credit: NASA
[Over the past few weeks, I've collected a metric ton of cool pictures to post, but somehow have never gotten around to actually posting them. Sometimes I was too busy, sometimes too lazy, sometimes they just fell by the wayside... but I decided my computer's desktop was getting cluttered, and I'll never clean it up without some sort of incentive. I've therefore made a pact with myself to post one of the pictures with an abbreviated description every day until they're gone, thus cleaning up my desktop, showing you neat and/or beautiful pictures, and making me feel better about my work habits. Enjoy.]
I imagine it gets pretty cold in the Russian Kamchatka peninsula in winter. Even an active volcano belching out steam might not be able to help much… but it sure looks pretty cool!
That’s the Kizimen volcano, which has been erupting since late 2010. This picture was taken by the Earth Observing-1 satellite in December of 2011. As you can see, snow is abundant, except where ash has fallen and shaded the ground brown. The plume is steam, but that must freeze pretty quickly once it hits that frigid air.
Even so, thermal imagery of the site shows fresh lava on the ground is still heating the place up. But, I’m guessing given the rest of this picture, not very much!
Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory/Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data
[This post about an erupting Russian volcano is part of a gallery of gorgeous images of volcanoes as seen from space. Click the thumbnail picture to get a bigger picture and more information, and scroll through the gallery using the left and right arrows.]
I know I just posted a volcano image from the Terra Earth-observing satellite, but another just came in and it’s so beautiful I can’t help myself. So here’s a little bit of awesome for your Friday afternoon. Behold!
See? Told you.
What we have here are two volcanoes on February 13 erupting simultaneously in Kamchatka. The northern one, Klyuchevskaya, is the tallest and most active in the region. The other one, Bezymianny, is 10 km (6 miles) to the south, and is much smaller (2900 meters/9500 feet vs. 4800 m/15,900 feet) for Klyuchevskaya). Both are spewing a plume high into the air; from the whitish color it appears to be more steam than ash, though the northern, larger volcano is reported to be sending out lava and rock fountains as well. Between the two you can see some clouds, too.
I don’t suppose too many folks live near these two monsters, which is a good thing. I can’t imagine what it must look like to be, say, 10 kilometers east of the two and see them both blasting out plumes reaching up 6 kilometers (3.5 miles) high. But one day I’d love to witness something like that! Maybe from farther away, though. Wow.
Image credit: by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team