Josh Edelson AFP/Getty Images
THIS is what a US wildfire looks like up close. Trees and embers burn on the other side of the Bidwell Bar Bridge, which spans California’s Lake Oroville in Butte county. These appear white in the image, while the lights to the right are from a small boat.
Thick smoke from the fire is responsible for the red hues. Smoke particles filter out shorter wavelengths of light, such as blue and yellow, while allowing longer, redder wavelengths through.
Elizabeth Morris/Amazon Studios
Adapted by Gillian Flynn
Amazon Prime Video (from 25 September)
“WHAT have you done today to earn your place in this crowded world?” This ominous question – frequently posed in the US TV series Utopia – hangs over the world envisaged by the show.
The series has been adapted by Gillian Flynn (screenwriter for hit film Gone Girl) from the 2013 British TV series of the same name, created by Dennis Kelly. It follows five strangers who connect online over the...
Many of the Balkans’ unique residents could be lost forever if hydropower dams persist in the area
Spanning more than 180,000 square miles across southeast Europe lies the Balkans, a region brimming with natural splendor. Some 80 percent of the crystal clear rivers in the Balkans are naturally preserved and relatively untouched by humans, earning it the nickname the ‘Blue Heart of Europe.’
“The rivers of the Balkans are completely unique within Europe and are of high international value,” say...
Astronomy Photographer of the Year Awards 2020
RARELY has the universe looked so tantalisingly within reach as in this enchanting photo of the Andromeda galaxy, taken by French photographer and optical engineer Nicolas Lefadeux.
To get the shot, he positioned his camera at an angle to the telescope’s focus, which softens the edges of the image so that the galaxy appears to be close. It won him the top priz...
Shu Qing/Bird Photographer of the Year
Shu Qing/Bird Photographer of the Year
A PAIR of flying whooper swans glide above the water in seamless harmony in the city of Sanmenxia in Henan province, China.
The image is titled Fairy Landing on Earth, and it won Shu Qing the bronze prize in the Birds in Flight category of the 2020 Bird Photographer of the Year competition.
Qing followed the swans – which get their name from their characteristic “whooping” call – with a handheld camera,...
NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens
NASA Earth Observatory/ Joshua Stevens
MESMERISING swirls etch a fleeting pattern into the surface of the Baltic Sea that shifts with the currents. This colourful assembly, off the coast of south-east Sweden, is made up of high concentrations of phytoplankton. They are most likely to be cyanobacteria, which behave like plants and capture and store solar energy through photosynthesis.
Such phytoplankton blooms are more common in the summer, when plen...
The Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition is produced by the South Australian Museum.
Mat Beeston, Ben Blanche, Jari Cornelis, Kevin De Vree, Alex Kydd, Tess Poyner
THIS tangled mass of rays was spotted on the Ningaloo Reef, off the coast of Western Australia. Titled A Fever of Cownose Rays, this photo by Alex Kydd may be a rare look at the animals’ courting rituals, in which males try to grasp the fins of females.
The image won ...
Jeff Eden © RBG Kew
Unearthed: Mysteries from an unseen world
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
MY FIRST trip to London’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, was spectacular. I set out on an unusually mild February day to visit this year’s annual orchid festival, which was celebrating the 4000-plus specimens that grow in Indonesia.
Aside from the delightful orchids, Kew and its out of London home, Wakehurst in West Sussex, together have more than 27,000 taxa of living plants, around 8.3 million spec...
Agency Prospekt Photographers
THIS surfer is one of many hoping to catch the waves at Kitaizumi beach in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture. The coastal spot was once hailed as a surfer’s paradise thanks to its high waves and sandy shores. Yet it has been almost a decade since it has been able to enjoy that status.
In 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant – situated around 25 kilometres from the beach – was the site of the worst nuclear accident ...
Confirming the existence of the Alfaro’s Hummingbird could also help to protect other species
Costa Rica is a bustling and diverse hotspot for wildlife, where over 50 species of hummingbird have made their home. But one of these ‒ a little-known species lost to science for 125 years ‒ has spurred a new search among the tropical Costa Rican forests.
No one alive today has ever seen the mysterious Alfaro’s Hummingbird (also known as the Guanacaste Hummingbird), one of GWC’s most wanted lost bir...
IT ISN’T long after waking each day that we meet the handiwork of chemists. The flavourings in toothpaste, scents in shower gel, polyester in clothes – all have been created through the breaking and making of chemical bonds. The same goes for nearly all the materials on which the modern world relies.
It isn’t easy work. Take remdesivir, the antiviral drug that could help us treat covid-19. To make it, chemists begin with a small molecule called alanine and add a further 64...
European Space Agency
PIERCING through the winter sky, this green light looks like part of a dazzling natural phenomenon. In fact, the strikingly clear single beam is from a laser fired at the European Space Agency’s research station in Antarctica to probe atmospheric conditions, including the impact of pollutants.
The pulsed laser is part of the Concordia station’s Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) instruments, and it is emitted for 60 seconds every 5 minutes...
THIS local keeps an eye out for river dolphins in the Amazon river in Brazil as an oil spill from a nearby boat adds a chromatic sheen to the water.
The photo is called BR-319: Highway to the Tipping Point and was taken by Evgeny Makarov. It is shortlisted for the Royal Geographical Society’s Earth Photo 2020 competition in the category A Climate of Change.
To get the shot, Makarov made a 10-day journey down the BR-319 highway, which was conceived to...
Georgette Douwma Agency naturepl.com
HAILED as the rainforests of the sea, coral reefs support almost a quarter of all marine species, from turtles and fish – like the clownfish peeking out of its anemone that is seen repeatedly in this image – to snails and worms.
Dutch photographer Georgette Douwma’s work reflects the ability of corals and some anemones to clone themselves from broken fragments. Here, she has combined mirrored shots of the clownfish and its hom...
Stefan Liebermann, Marcin Zajac
THESE ethereal images showcase the beauty and spectacle of our universe. They are among the thousands of photos shortlisted for this year’s Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, a global contest organised by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, UK.
Galactic Portal was taken by Polish photographer Marcin Zajac during a visit to the coastal town of Kiama in New South Wales, Australia. Zajac waited in a small cav...