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Auroras in motion

Northern Lights from Sergio Garcia Rill on Vimeo.

Take 3 minutes to watch this green and ghostly time-lapse video of the Alaskan northern lights. It was made from 4,450 photos by our friend Sergio Garcia Rill

Like coastlines? You’ll like this video

If you like science, and you like spending a day along a coastline – and if you live in the Pacific Northwest or Alaska – this citizen science project might be for you. It’s called COASST, and it’s a group of scientists and volunteers who monitor beach-cast seabird carcasses to learn more about bird populations in their local ecosystems.

Shrinking of Antarctic ice shelves is accelerating

Antarctica’s Brunt Ice Shelf photographed in October 2011 from NASA’s DC-8 research aircraft during an Operation IceBridge flight. Michael Studinger/NASA

Antarctica’s Brunt Ice Shelf photographed in October 2011 from NASA’s DC-8 research aircraft during an Operation IceBridge flight. Michael Studinger/NASA

If all the ice on Antarctica melted into the ocean, global sea level would rise about 200 feet, roughly the height of a 20-story building. Could this happen?

Public invited to NASA flying saucer broadcast today

Artist's concept of test vehicle for NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), designed to test landing technologies for future Mars missions. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Artist’s concept of test vehicle for NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), designed to test landing technologies for future Mars missions. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech.

In June 2015, NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project will fly its rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into near-space from the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. The public is invited to tune in to an hour-long live, interactive video broadcast from the gallery above a clean room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where this near-space experimental test vehicle is being prepared for shipment to Hawaii. NOTE NEW TIME FOR BROADCAST: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PDT (13:30 CDT, 18:30 UTC) on March 31, 2015.

How to watch a total eclipse of the moon

Total lunar eclipse mosaic by eclipse master Fred Espenak.   Visit his page for the April 14-14 eclipse.

Total lunar eclipse mosaic by eclipse master Fred Espenak.

The April 4, 2015 total lunar eclipse comes in the morning for North America, and in the evening for Eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia. Here’s what to look for.

Striped sunrises and the shadows they cast

View larger. | Photo by Peter Lowenstein.

View larger. | Photo by Peter Lowenstein.

Peter Lowenstein of Mutare, Zimbabwe has submitted another set of unusual photos for us. One is above, and the other is inside this post. The photos were taken a year apart, but might have been taken on the same day if two photographers had been standing back to back, one shooting a cloud-striped sunrise and the other shooting the sun’s first light – showing banded cloud shadow – shining on a nearby mountain slope.

Moon close to Regulus on March 31

2015-march-31-jupiter-moon-regulus-night-sky-chart

Can you find the star that’s shining close to the big and bright waxing gibbous moon on the night of March 31, 2015? That’s Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion. In sky lore, Regulus is considered to be the Lion’s Heart. Regulus is also the only first-magnitude star to sit almost exactly on the ecliptic – the Earth’s orbital plane projected outward onto the sphere of stars.

Before and after cyclone Pam

Photo credit: William Dyer

Photo credit: William Dyer

Views from above, before and after cyclone Pam devastated the island nation of Vanuatu earlier this month.

How you can help: Donate to the disaster relief effort.

Passing comets painted Mercury black

A limb mosaic of the planet Mercury as seen from MESSENGER’s Wide Angle Camera & Dual Imaging System. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-03-mercury-greatest-elongation.html#jCp

A limb mosaic of the planet Mercury as seen from the MESSENGER spacecraft’s Wide Angle Camera & Dual Imaging System. Image via NASA/Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Scientists announced this morning (March 30, 2015) that Mercury’s dark, barely reflective surface may be the result of a steady dusting of carbon from passing comets. In other words, over billions of years, comets have slowly painted Mecury’s surface black.

Greenland glacier melt increases mercury discharge

Stream in Zackenberg drainage. Imge credit: Mikkel Tamstrof

Stream in Zackenberg drainage. Imge credit: Mikkel Tamstrof

As glaciers melt, streams carry more mercury into the ocean, increasing risk of mercury poisoning in humans and wildlife in Greenland and in adjacent coastal countries.