We earthlings have been blessed with some pretty spectacular images from space in recent months. There was the "Blue Marble" image, the dark side of the moon, up close images of the sun, the moon and Pluto and the plumes of smoke from wildfires raging in the Western U.S. and Canada.
Astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS) have been able to capture some great images. Check out these 10 mesmerizing photos of Earth taken from space:
1. Hurricane Danny
Current ISS Commander Scott Kelly snapped this picture of Hurricane Danny as the ISS passed over the central Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane Danny was a Category 3, the first of the 2015 hurricane season, which made landfall in the Caribbean.
According to Upworthy, NASA teams up with local aid agencies to help provide drinking water to water-stressed places such as Oman. NASA "discovers previously untapped water sources and provides these at-risk areas with water purification technology used onboard the ISS," according to Upworthy.
Commander Kelly took this photo as the ISS passed over Australia in October 2015. It's just one of a 17-photo series on the Land Down Under.
4. British Columbia, Canada
Astronaut Tim Peake, who joined the ISS team in December 2015, has wasted no time taking stunning pictures of planet Earth. He captured this image of British Columbia's Coast Mountains on Jan. 5.
5. The Aurora Borealis
The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, are "the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun's atmosphere," according to the Northern Lights Centre. "Variations in color are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding."
6. Golden Aurora
The image shows cloud cover over England, the Baltic Sea and Persian Gulf with a golden aurora on the horizon.
Scott Kelly tweeted this image with the following comment: "Good morning #Manhattan! #bigapple #YearInSpace."
8. Lake Powell
Lake Powell is the second largest man-made reservoir by maximum water capacity in the U.S. after Lake Mead. However, it is now larger than Lake Mead in terms of water volume because of the high rates of water extraction and years of drought in the area.
According to Upworthy, some of the astronauts, such as Scott Kelly, even received training in photography before heading to space. It shows. These photos are incredible.
10. Space selfie
Notice the breathtaking image in Kelly's camera lens. Wow!
Tim Peake said it best in his Instagram post:
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Spring is coming. And soon, tree swallows will start building nests. But as the climate changes, the birds are nesting earlier in the spring.
"It's getting warmer overall. They're thinking, OK, it's a good time to breed, to lay my eggs," says Lily Twining of the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior in Germany.
She says that despite recent warming, late-season cold snaps remain common. Those cold snaps can harm newborn chicks.
Hatchlings cannot regulate their body temperature, so they are vulnerable to hypothermia. And the insects they eat stop flying in cold weather, potentially leaving the chicks to starve.
"These chicks are growing very, very fast," Twining says. "They have very high energy demands, so… if they don't get a lot of that good high-quality food during this pretty specific time… that's when these cold weather events seem to be most devastating."
For example, data from Ithaca, New York, shows that a single cold snap in 2016 killed more than 70% of baby tree swallows.
"And there have been more and more of these severe cold weather die-off events for these tree swallows as they've been breeding earlier and earlier over the past 40 or so years," Twining says.
So for these songbirds, earlier springs can come with devastating consequences.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
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