May 23, 2017

Catatumbo Lightning

Catatumbo Lightning

Catatumbo lightning is an atmospheric phenomenon in Venezuela. It occurs only over the mouth of the Catatumbo River where it empties into Lake Maracaibo.

It originates from a mass of storm clouds at a height of more than 1 km, and occurs during 260 nights a year, 10 hours per day and up to 280 times per hour. It occurs over and around Lake Maracaibo, typically over the bog area formed where the Catatumbo River flows into the lake.

Catatumbo lightning changes its frequency throughout the year, and it is different from year to year. For example, it ceased from January to March 2010, apparently due to drought, temporarily raising fears that it might have been extinguished permanently.

Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela
November 1, 2015

Image Credit & Copyright: Fernando Flores
Explanation from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catatumbo_lightning

Spiral Galaxy NGC 7714

Spiral Galaxy NGC 7714

NGC 7714 is a spiral galaxy 100 million light-years from Earth — a relatively close neighbour in cosmic terms.

The galaxy has witnessed some violent and dramatic events in its recent past. Tell-tale signs of this brutality can be seen in NGC 7714's strangely shaped arms, and in the smoky golden haze that stretches out from the galactic centre — caused by an ongoing merger with its smaller galactic companion NGC 7715, which is out of the frame of this image.

Image Credit: ESA, NASA
Explanation from: https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic1503a/

Open Star Cluster NGC 3572

Open Star Cluster NGC 3572

The Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile has captured the best image so far of the star cluster NGC 3572, a gathering of young stars, and its spectacular surroundings. This new image shows how the clouds of gas and dust around the cluster have been sculpted into whimsical bubbles, arcs and the odd features known as elephant trunks by the stellar winds flowing from the bright stars. The brightest of these cluster stars are heavier than the Sun and will end their short lives as supernova explosions.

Image Credit: ESO/G. Beccari
Explanation from: https://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1347a/