The Best Science Photos of 2019

The Best Science Photos of 2019

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These are few selected photos from 100 best science photos of 2019.

Humpback whale mama


(Image credit: François Baelen, Ocean Art 2018)

Photographer François Baelen was diving near Reunion Island in the Western Indian Ocean when he captured this otherworldly image of a mother humpback whale and her calf (top right). The photo took the top prize in the Ocean Art 2018 wide-angle category, whose winners were announced in January 2019.

Ray courtship


(Image credit: Duncan Murrell, Ocean Art 2018)

This spectacular image of a trio of spinetail devil rays (Mobula japonica) won the Best in Show in the 2018 Ocean Art underwater photography competition held by Underwater Photography Guide. The winners were announced in January 2019.

Yosemite firefall


(Image credit: CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Newscom)

What appeared to be a sizzling fire poured over Yosemite’s iconic El Capitan rockface this year. But it wasn’t hot nor was it a flame. Rather, this so-called firefall happens when the winter light hits the melting snow just as the sun is setting. The fiery display occurs at the same time every year.

Hitchhiking argonaut


(Image credit: Songda Cai/UPY 2019)

In that same photo contest, photographer Songda Cai collected a Commended award in the Behavior category this year. Her snazzy photo illuminates a jellyfish carrying a type of deep-sea octopus called an argonaut — males rely on jellyfish for protection from predators. 

Glacier tongue


(Image credit: Nicolaj Larsen/Shutterstock)

In a study out this year, researchers equipped with computer models looked at climate changes during the Quaternary period, which started around 2.59 million years ago and continues into today. They found that Earth has not undergone any such changes as rapid as those seen today. During the Quaternary, glaciers would have crept down from Greenland (shown here) to cover much of North America and northern Europe.

Glowing tears


(Image credit: WanRu/Getty)

China’s “blue tears” are not streaming from people’s eyes, but rather created by a bloom of toxic bioluminescent creatures called dinoflagellates. And their toxic “tears,” which create a beautiful glow in the waters of the East China Sea, are growing bigger every year, researchers found.

Chasing Steve


(Image credit: Photo by Jun Wang, Courtesy of All in Pictures)

A new documentary reveals the behind-the-scenes story of an oddball sky glow endearingly named “Steve” that was first spotted over Canada in 2016 — to the delight of aurora chasers and skywatchers alike. Steve resembled typical aurora in some ways, but its ribbons and ladders of purple and green light were shaped differently than those of other aurora. The documentary, “Chasing Steve,” is currently available to view in Canada on Vimeo, and it will soon be available to rent or purchase in the U.S. via the film’s website.

Purple sunsets


(Image credit: Glenn Randall)

The eruption of the Russian volcano Raikoke in June painted sunrises and sunsets the world over in a purple hue. Here’s how: The eruption spewed sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, leading to tiny particles called aerosols. These aerosols scatter sunlight, generating more purples at sunrise and sunset. The image above shows one such purple sunrise above Lake Isabelle in Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado.

Firecloud


(Image credit: David Peterson (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory))

NASA’s Earth Observatory shared a haunting image this year showing the blazing heart of a fire cloud hovering above Earth. The magnificent image was snapped on Aug. 8 in eastern Washington state. Though surreal-looking, these fire clouds — also called pyrocumulonimbus or PyroCb clouds — can be quite disruptive, as they act like chimneys to funnel smoke and particles from wildfires into the lower stratosphere.

Astronomy photo contest


(Image credit: Copyright Alexander Stepanenko)

In this award-winning photo by Alexander Stepanenko, a majestic, bird-shaped aurora spreads its wings over a destroyed military hydroelectric station outside of Murmansk, Russia. This image and other spectacular skyscape beauties were shortlisted this year for the Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest, organized by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich in the United Kingdom.

 

By Jeanna Bryner – Live Science

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