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Man enjoys surfing? So do swans! Person of 2013: Pope #1, Snowden #2; Legend Lady Chang'e and Jade Rabbit (solar-powered rover)


Mick Fanning at the Pipe Masters this week

Absolutely amazing: black swans frolicking off shore near Gold Coast, catching waves in and out

Forbes "Pope Francis Is Time's Person Of Year 2013; Snowden Is No. 2"
Time Person of the Year
uk.Reuters - "He is a strange guy," Putin said of Snowden, "I don't get what he is thinking." "Basically he doomed himself to a pretty difficult life. What will he do next, I don't even imagine. But it's clear now that we won't give him away, he should feel safe here." Snowden flew to Moscow from Hong Kong in June and got stuck in the transit zone after US revoked his passport and urged countries not to let him pass.
Chinese Moon Rover Yu Tu (Jade Rabbit)
Chang E and Jade Rabbit
 read more »

NASA Astronomy Photo of the Day: Easter Island stone giants illuminated under the Milky Way

Milky Way Above Easter Island

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NASA Astronomy Photo of the Day, June 18, 2012
Why were the statues on Easter Island built? No one is sure. What is sure is that over 800 large stone statues exist there. The Easter Island statues, stand, on the average, over twice as tall as a person and have over 200 times as much mass. Few specifics are known about the history or meaning of the unusual statues, but many believe that they were created about 500 years ago in the images of local leaders of a lost civilization. Pictured above, some of the stone giants were illuminated in 2009 under the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy.

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Image Credit & Copyright: Manel Soria

Hubble celebrates 22nd anniversary in orbit with stunning mosaic space image of several million stars 650 light-years across

an image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope shows young stars in the heart of the Tarantula nebula, named so by early astronomers because its glowing filaments resemble spider legs

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Happy Birthday, Hubble! A Stunning New Picture for a Special Day
Things didn't look too bright for the Hubble Space Telescope when it first went into orbit back in 1989: the $1.5 billion eye on the universe had gone into space with its light-gathering mirror polished to perfection, which was very good, but the mirror was also the wrong shape — which was very bad. It wasn't until 1993 that the shuttle Endeavour went aloft with a set of corrective optics — essentially space telescope glasses — that sharpened Hubble's blurry vision and allowed it to begin conducting the stargazing work it was built to do. Since that exercise in orbital optometry, Hubble has been sending home one astonishing photo after another — and one scientific breakthrough after another too.

This week the telescope celebrates its 22nd birthday in orbit, and the folks at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) are handing out party favors in the form of a dazzling new space image. Even by Hubble standards, it's pretty extraordinary.  read more »

Magnificent Planet. 2012 version of Nasa's 'Blue Marble' - Earth space images (composite), taken by new Suomi satellite: Jan 4

2012 version of Nasa's 'Blue Marble' space images: most high-resolution image of Earth ever, composite image taken by the new Suomi satellite on January 4

Nasa's shot shows how the image is assembled from the instruments aboard Suomi NPP

2011's Blue Marble: mesmerizing view of Earth is a montage of images taken by the Terra satellite orbiting 435miles above the planet's surface

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Last week, NASA released its 2012 version of the famous "Blue Marble" image. By using a planet-pointing satellite, Suomi NPP, the space agency created an extremely high-resolution photograph of our watery world.
The photo centered on the western hemisphere, highlighting North and Central America. It went viral and got even more hits on Flickr than the iconic "Situation Room" photo, taken at the time of the assassination of Osama bin Laden.

Now, responding to public demand, the agency has created a companion image: this time focusing its lens toward the East and showing Africa, Saudi Arabia and India.

The Suomi NPP satellite hugs the Earth too closely to get this kind of image in one shot. It’s in a polar orbit with an altitude of 824 kilometers, but the perspective of the Eastern hemisphere Blue Marble is from 12,743 kilometers away.

As such, Nasa Goddard oceanographer Norman Kuring used images from six different orbits of the satellite over an eight-hour time period on Jan. 23, then stitched the photos together to achieve the final composite.  read more »

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Before man to blow to right
The wind once blew itself untaught,
And did its loudest day and night
In any rough place where it caught.

Man came to tell it what was wrong:
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It blew too hard - the aim was song.
And listen - how it ought to go!

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By measure. It was word and note,
The wind the wind had meant to be -
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The aim was song - the wind could see.

— Robert Frost

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