If you’re looking for a snappy new wallpaper/home screen/lock screen image for your phone, Aerial Wallpapers is a great place to start. The site is created by João Paulo Bernardes who scours creative commons satellite imagery from NASA and Airbus Defence and Space for the best slices of Earth which he crops and scales to fit the iPhone 6 Plus, but should scale OK for other phones too. (via Kottke)
Artist and painter Yusuke Asai (previously) has a new mud mural on display at Houston’s Rice Gallery. Working day and night with a team of assistants, the Japanese artist, who is known for his “earth paintings” made from locally sourced mud and dirt, spent just under 2 weeks covering the walls and floors of the gallery with soil collected in Houston. “There are so many kinds of soil in Houston and Texas,” says Asai. “Initially I had hoped for 10 different shades, and ended up with 27: the widest spectrum of colors representing a specific place that I have ever used.”
But why mud, you might wonder? Asai explains: “Dirt is by nature very different than materials sold in art stores.” Seeds grow in it and it is home to many insects and micro organisms. It is a ‘living’ medium.”
The resulting large-scale mural is titled yamatane (mountain seed, in Japanese) and features real and imaginary creatures and plants. The mural is on display through November 23, 2014. (syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
One of six astronauts currently on board the International Space Station, geophysicist Alexander Gerst spends much of his free time staring out the window as the world zooms by 205 miles below, camera in-hand. Since arriving at the ISS in June of this year Gerst has taken tons of photographs that document hurricanes, floods, dust storms, and oil fields.
One of his favorite things to shoot are the shadows cast by clouds, something that appears surprisingly dramatic from space. Dense cloud formations can create long shadows that stretch for thousands of miles across the Earth’s surface as they eventually disappear into a black horizon. You can see new photos from Gerst daily on Twitter. (via Stellar)
You might remember earlier this summer when NASA released a striking image taken by the Cassini spacecraft of Earth as it appears from the dark side of Saturn. Yesterday the space agency wowed again with the first ever photograph of Saturn, Mars, Venus, and Earth all in the same shot. The image spans about 404,880 miles (651,591 kilometers) across and is made from 141 wide-angle photos taken by Cassini. You can learn more about the image over on JPL’s site where you can even download some wallpapers. This is a good excuse to watch an interpretation of Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot monologue. Or this one. (via PetaPixel)
Swirling cloud art in the Atlantic Ocean / June 11, 2010
Agricultural crops in Aragon and Catalonia / November 26, 2010
Though I don’t have a homepage set, the first page in my daily rounds is always the Astronomy Picture of the Day (site currently down), a website launched by NASA and the Michigan Technological University way back in 1995, a nearly continuous publication run of 18 years. Unfortunately due some minor, uhm, budget cuts in the U.S. government, all NASA websites are currently down due to a crushing 97% cut in workforce, including the humble Astronomy Picture of the Day.
Luckily there’s at least one space agency still publishing photos of space (and space from Earth), the European Space Agency. The ESA has an incredible Observing the Earth archive that’s updated every week and each satelitte image is usually accompanied by a brief essay to explain a bit about what you’re looking at. Collected here are some of my favorite images from the last few years taken with too many different satellites to mention, and you can search photos back through 2005 here. (via Devid Sketchbook)
Self-taught chef Rhiannon over at Cakecrumbs has been working on a fun series of planetary cakes that are designed to be scientifically accurate with different types of cake representing various layers within Earth and Jupiter. For her Jupiter Cake the center is the theoretical rock/ice core (mudcake), followed by a layer of liquid metallic hydrogen (almond butter), and finally the liquid molecular hydrogen (colored vanilla). She layered her Earth Cake similarly and finished it off with some absurdly detailed continent design made with marshmallow fondant.
Due to high demand she just posted an extremely detailed tutorial including a video that explains how to make spherical concentric layer cakes. Which is now a thing. That I will have at my birthdays now and forever. (via I F’ing Love Science)
Yesterday NASA published a new photograph taken on July 19, 2013, by a wide-angle camera on the Cassini spacecraft that shows a view of Earth from the dark side of Saturn. In the photo Earth is 898 million miles away and the moon appears as just a tiny protrusion off to the right (you might need to see it up close). According to NASA this is only the third time that Earth has ever been photographed from the outer solar system.