Over the past two weeks, one of the most energetic sunspot regions of recent years crossed the face of the Sun. Active Region 1429, visible above as the group of dark spots on the Sun’s upper right, blasted out several solar flares and coronal mass ejections since coming around the edge of the Sun almost a month ago. Photographer Juan Manuel Pérez Rayego
The photo above showing the starry night sky as viewed from the village of Eglouvi on Lefkada Island, Greece was taken on June 29, 2011. The hook-shaped grouping of stars at left, dominated by brilliant 1.0 magnitude Antares (the red giant), is the constellation of Scorpio. Photographer: Stavros Hios; Stavros’s Web site
The gorgeous Full Moon rose behind Mount Hamilton, as viewed from a well chosen location at sunset, east of San Jose, California on March 7. The lunar disk frames historic Lick Observatory perched on the mountain’s 4,200 foot summit. Photographer Rick Baldridge
Ships churning across the Pacific Ocean left this cluster of bright cloud trails lingering in the atmosphere late last month. The narrow clouds, known as ship tracks, form when water vapor condenses around tiny particles of pollution that ships either emit directly as exhaust or that form as a result of gases within the exhaust.
The photo above showing twin waterspouts offshore of Encinitas, California was observed in late September of 2007. These two funnels formed on a sultry afternoon in a weak weather system that pushed north from the Baja California area. Photographer: Jim Hornung