planet

The Closest Color Photo of Pluto Ever Shot

After a nine year journey towards the outer edge of our solar system, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has beamed back its first color photo of Pluto and its largest moon Charon. The photo above, captured "just" 71 million miles away from the dwarf planet, is the closest color photo ever made of Pluto.

Did You Know: We Don’t Have a Clear Photo of Pluto, but Next Year We Will

Pluto has had a rough existence. Discovered February 18th, 1930, the largest object in the Kuiper belt has gone through a number of classifications, eventually settling on "dwarf planet" at this point in time.

The interesting thing is, as much as we may know about this dwarf planet, we don’t have a very good idea of what it looks like. Scientists have yet to take a clear photograph of Pluto, but around this time next year (on July 14th, 2015, to be exact) that'll change.

Behold the First Ever Image of a Planet and Its Star Over 63 Light Years Away

Although it might not seem like much, the photo above might just be the most extraordinary image you have ever seen. Not because of crazy high megapixel count or amazing composition or even subject matter -- we've seen images of planets orbiting stars before -- but because it is the first ever image of a planet and its star over 63 light years away.

Beautiful Photograph of a Hurricane… On the North Pole of Saturn

Photographs of storm systems as seen from airplanes or satellites aren't too uncommon these days, but have you ever seen one that looks like this? Probably not, because this photograph is out of this world -- literally. It's titled "The Rose," and shows the spinning vortex of a gigantic hurricane on the surface of Saturn.

Black Marble: NASA Releases Incredibly Detailed Photos of Earth at Night

You've probably heard of The Blue Marble, an iconic photo of Earth captured in 1972 from 28,000 miles away by astronauts on the Apollo 17 spacecraft. Well, NASA has just released a number of photographs titled "Black Marble." They offer the same perspective as the iconic photo, except these new images show what our planet looks like at night!

Amateur Astrophotographer Captures Huge Explosion on Jupiter

An apparent meteor struck Jupiter yesterday, creating an explosion so massive that amateur astronomers looking through their telescopes her on Earth were able to see it. Amateur astrophotographer George Hall of Dallas, Texas happened to have a camera and telescope pointed at the planet at the time, and managed to snag some video footage of the fireball, which he soon uploaded to his Flickr account.

40 Years of Landsat: Time-Lapse Videos Show Changes to Earth’s Face

Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of Landsat, the longest-running program focused on acquiring satellite photos of Earth. The Landsat satellite snaps one completely photo of the Earth's surface every 16 days, and the petabytes of photos collected over the years have given scientists a view into how our planet's surface has changed over time, whether by natural or human-caused means. Google is currently working to make the photos easily enjoyable by the general public by transforming them into time-lapse videos.

How NASA Creates Those Beautiful Blue Marble Photos of Earth

After NASA published its latest jaw-dropping "Blue Marble" photograph of Earth last month, many of you wondered how "real" the image was. Here's NASA's explanation on how their images are created:

The Suomi NPP satellite is in a polar orbit around Earth at an altitude of 512 miles (about 824 kilometers), but the perspective of the new Eastern hemisphere 'Blue Marble' is from 7,918 miles (about 12,743 kilometers). NASA scientist Norman Kuring managed to 'step back' from Earth to get the big picture by combining data from six different orbits of the Suomi NPP satellite. Or putting it a different way, the satellite flew above this area of Earth six times over an eight hour time period. Norman took those six sets of data and combined them into one image.

So rather than being a composite of multiple images captured from the same perspective, they do in fact map images captured by the satellite onto a 3D sphere.

Planets Created by Combining Photos Captured From High Locations

Creating tiny planets by projecting panoramic photographs onto a sphere is something you've probably seen before, but Dutch photographer Wouter van Buuren creates his planets a bit differently. rather than shoot panoramas from the ground, van Buuren climbs to the top of towers, cranes, skyscrapers, and bridges and points his camera in every direction below. He then takes the resulting photographs and arranges them into compact worlds.

Jaw-Dropping Time-Lapse Shots of Earth

Between August and October of this year, the crew onboard the International Space Station used a Nikon D3S (at high ISOs) to capture photographs of Earth as they zipped around it at 17,000mph. Michael Konig then took the footage and compiled it into this eye-popping time-lapse video showing what our planet looks like from up there.