Το Σέλας (του Σέλαος, πληθ. τα Σέλα ή Σέλαα) είναι το φωτεινό ουράνιο φαινόμενο που συμβαίνει στα ανώτερα στρώματα της ατμόσφαιρας και που παρατηρείται ιδίως στις πολικές περιοχές (εξ ου και Πολικό Σέλας), τόσο στον Βόρειο ημισφαίριο όσο και στο Νότιο αποκαλούμενο ανάλογα «Βόρειο Σέλας» και «Νότιο Σέλας».
Πράσινη και ροζ Aurora πάνω από το λιμάνι του Tromso του Ανώνη Βλαβογελάκη #NorthernLights
Το φαινόμενο από τα ωραιότερα που προσφέρει η Φύση σε ποικιλία χρωμάτων και σχεδίων σε αιφνίδιες εμφανίσεις και με γρήγορες σχετικά μεταμορφώσεις.
Η εμφάνιση του Σέλαος, αν και πολύ σπάνια για παραμεσόγειες χώρες, κίνησε το ενδιαφέρον των ανθρώπων από την αρχαιότητα και ήταν γνωστό στους αρχαίους Έλληνες. Πρώτος επιστημονικά παρατηρητής του φαινομένου φέρεται ο Αριστοτέλης που όπως αναφέρει στα «Μετεωρολογικά» του (Α’,5):
«Φαίνεται δε ποτέ συνιστάμενα νύκτωρ αιθρίας ούσης πολλά φάσματα εν τω
ουρανώ…, ημέρας μεν ουν ο Ήλιος κωλύει, νυκτός δε έξω του φοινικικού (δηλαδή
του ιώδους) τα άλλα δι΄ ομόχροιαν ου φαίνεται»,
που σημαίνει ότι πρέπει να είχε παρατηρήσει έντονα το φαινόμενο του Σέλαος κατά τη διάρκεια αίθριας νύκτας.
Η φωτοβολία της ατμόσφαιρας (πάντα κατά τον Αριστοτέλη) δεν είναι ομοιογενής αλλά τα φάσματα του φαινομένου αυτού παρουσιάζουν χάσματα. Και είναι εκείνα που παρουσιάζουν ακριβώς το Σέλας ως κυματιζόμενες «ουράνιες κουρτίνες» ή «ουράνιες μπαλαρίνες» όπως χαρακτηρίζεται το φαινόμενο από τους σύγχρονους παρατηρητές.
Auroras, sometimes called the northern and southern (polar) lights or aurorae (singular: aurora), are natural light displays in the sky, usually observed at night, particularly in the polar regions. They typically occur in the ionosphere.
They are also referred to as polar auroras. In northern latitudes, the effect is known as the aurora borealis, named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for north wind, Boreas by Pierre Gassendi in 1621.
The aurora borealis is also called the northern polar lights, as it is only visible in the sky from the Northern Hemisphere, the chance of visibility increasing with proximity to the north magnetic pole, which is currently in the arctic islands of northern Canada.
Aurorae seen near the magnetic pole may be high overhead, but from further away, they illuminate the northern horizon as a greenish glow or sometimes a faint red, as if the sun was rising from an unusual direction.
The aurora borealis most often occurs from September to October and from March to April. The northern lights have had a number of names throughout history. The Cree people call this phenomenon the «Dance of the Spirits.»
photo via pixdaus
» A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.» — Lao Tzu
Ανεξάρτητο κράτος της νοτιοκεντρικής Ασίας. Εκτείνεται στις πλαγιές της οροσειράς των Ιμαλαΐων και συνορεύει βόρεια και βορειοδυτικά με την Κίνα (περιοχή του Θιβέτ), ενώ από όλες τις άλλες πλευρές του περιβάλλεται από την Ινδία.
Συγκεκριμένα, στα νοτιοδυτικά συνορεύει με το ινδικό ομόσπονδο κρατίδιο του Σικίμ, νότια με τα κρατίδια της Δυτικής Βεγγάλης και του Ασάμ και ανατολικά με το κρατίδιο Αρουνάτσαλ Πραντές.
Η συνολική έκταση της χώρας ανέρχεται σε 47.000 τ. χλμ., κατατάσσοντας το Μπουτάν στην 130ή παγκόσμια θέση. Συγκριτικά με άλλες χώρες, η έκταση του Μπουτάν είναι ίση με το μισό περίπου της έκτασης της Ουγγαρίας, διπλάσια από την έκταση του Τζιμπουτί και κατά 2,8 φορές μικρότερη από την έκταση της Ελλάδας.
Σύμφωνα με εκτιμήσεις του 2002, η χώρα αριθμεί 2.094.176 κατοίκους και ως προς τον πληθυσμό κατέχει την 141η θέση στον κόσμο. Αναλογικά με την έκταση, ο πληθυσμός δεν είναι ιδιαίτερα μεγάλος, με αποτέλεσμα το Μπουτάν να είναι μια μάλλον αραιοκατοικημένη χώρα.
Η πυκνότητα του πληθυσμού φτάνει τους 44,56 κατοίκους ανά τ. χλμ.
…he had to make an uphill climb for this photo of the 17th century Tiger’s Nest monastery perched precariously on cliffs in western Bhutan.
First, hiked to 14,000 feet, then he suffered through altitude sickness.
Afterward «we climbed 1,000 vertical feet on stairs,»
he said. «We all wondered how they built the monastery.»
Taktshang is one of the most famous monasteries in Bhutan. Completed in 1692, it hangs on a cliff at 3,120 metres (10,200 feet), some 700 meters (2,300 feet) above the bottom of Paro valley, some 10 km from the district town of Paro. Famous visitors include Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in the 17th century and Milarepa. The name means «Tiger’s nest», the legend being that Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) flew there on the back of a tiger. The monastery includes seven temples which can all be visited. The monastery suffered several blazes and is a recent restoration. Climbing to the monastery is on foot or
Amongst all the clinician psychologists in the world, no one probably stands a chance to beat France-based Ciryl Rolando at digital painting. Working under his artist’s name Aquasixio, he focuses his works around the emotional aspect of humans and the colors of life.
Balancing somewhere between the fantasy and the surreal, Rolando himself describes the artwork he creates as otherworldly. “Tim Burton and Hayao Miyazaki are both the roots of my own world. I like the surrealism movement, especially the work of Boris Vian and his ‘Foam of the Daze’ (L’Ecume des jours),” Ciryl Rolando states on his DeviantArt profile. “I like the absurdity, the creativity and the enchanting universes, where colors bring more emotions than thousands smiles or million tears.”Rolando doesn’t just work with bright colors however – the artist’s stories are quite sad since “darkness of life is more inspiring than happy and safe people,” as he states. Take a look at Aquasixio’s digital paintings below to get to know his magical world.
We’re living in a world that looks increasingly like science fiction, so I find myself looking to the genre not for predictions of what the future holds but for some guidance for dealing with this strange and changing world. 2016 was a difficult year, but a bounty of fantastic science fiction and fantasy novels were helpful in not simply escaping the present, but confronting it.
Here’s the best of what the year had to offer.
ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY BY CHARLIE JANE ANDERS
All the Birds in the Sky is as witty as it is smart. I used to work with Charlie Jane Anders when she was the editor-in-chief of Gawker’s io9. The novel affords her a length and creative freedom so different from the blog, and yet with both she deftly explored the murky boundaries between fantasy and science fiction, and how the world has evolved.
The book follows a pair of childhood friends, Patrica and Laurence, who hadn’t expected to reunite as adults. After growing up together, Patricia went on to study magic, while Laurence turned into a mad scientist. As the end of the world begins, they both find that they have their own roles to play, and will either save or doom the planet.
A CLOSED AND COMMON ORBIT BY BECKY CHAMBERS
Becky Chamber’s A Closed and Common Orbit is set in the same world as her debut novel, A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. It follows two protagonists: a genetically modified orphan struggling to survive, and a ship’s artificial intelligence, dumped into a humanoid body, trying to learn how to pass for a human.
Both clever and heartbreaking, Chambers story focus on the journeys and growth of her two characters rather than a traditional struggle with a malevolent antagonist. The result is a powerful novel about acceptance, disability, and making one’s way in a difficult world.
THE OBELISK GATE BY N.K. JEMISIN
The Fifth Season elevated the fantasy genre by upending tropes about the portrayal of magic, relationships, and the end of the world. The Obelisk Gate continues to build on its predecessor’s brilliance. The basics are, admittedly, a little daunting to the newcomer: an orogene (read: magician) named Essun has found refuge from the world’s disasters, and her former mentor and lover, Alabaster, is slowly turning to stone as a result of drawing power from strange constructs known as Obelisks, as he tries to stop the world’s cycles of destruction.
Jemisin won this year’s Hugo Award for best novel for The Fifth Season, and in these two novels she used her brilliant characters, vivid world, and pacing to examine the use of power in all of its facets. The Obelisk Gate is an incredibly ambitious and important novel, one that has us eager for the final installment of the trilogy.
THE WALL OF STORMS BY KEN LIU
N.K. Jemisin wasn’t the only author to pen a standout middle installment in a trilogy. Ken Liu’s The Wall of Storms is the sequel to his fantasy epic The Grace of Kings. In the first installment, protagonist Kuni Garu and Mata Zyndu helped overthrow an empire and install another in its place. The Wall of Storms takes place years later, when a new generation of characters rise up to contend with an invading force that threatens everything their parents fought for.
Liu is one of the best authors writing at the moment, and he was particularly busy this year with publishing an anthology of Chinese science fiction, translating a major novel, and releasing his own collection of short fiction. The Grace of Kings looked at how an empire is overthrown and rebuilt; The Wall of Storms is about how one holds everything together.
I AM PROVIDENCE BY NICK MAMATAS
In his latest novel, I Am Providence, Nick Mamatas takes a shot at sci-fi and horror fandom, creating Lovecraftian murder mystery that’s set during a Lovecraft convention.
Lovecraft’s writing has been examined more critically in recent years, and the arguments over his legacy have been a sort of microcosm for the larger conversations about race and representation in sci-fi and horror. Mamatas is sharp but fair, never mocking Lovecraft fans, but pulling the veil reveal the complexities of fandom for the late writer.
INFOMOCRACY BY MALKA OLDER
In a year with a contentious election, it would seem that reading a book about a futuristic election might be a bit much. That’s not the case with Malka Older’s Infomocracy. Set in the indeterminate future, the world is divided into small districts, and the party that controls the most districts controls policy for the entire planet.
Infomocracy is a intellectually stimulating thriller that follows a handful of characters who work for various political parties and election systems. The story hinges on how a voting public receives and interprets information — and how parties manipulate that perception. It’s a book that’s all too relevant in 2016.
THE LAST MORTAL BOND BY BRIAN STAVELEY
Sticking a landing is difficult for long fantasy novels. In 2014, Brian Staveley burst onto the scene with The Emperor’s Blades, an excellent start to a fantasy epic. He extended his engrossing, complicated world and cast of amazing characters in 2015’s The Providence of Fire. In The Last Mortal Bond, which concludes the trilogy, an ancient race called the csestriim have returned to destroy humanity. Three siblings — Valyn, Adare, and Kaden — each have their own conflicting roles to play as they work to save the Annurian Empire.
In some fantasy epics, you’ll see a creator build a world and let the story play out. What makes The Last Mortal Bond such a delight to read is Staveley’s knack for invention: his world grows and grows, only wrap up in an unexpected (but no less satisfying) end.
ARKWRIGHT BY ALLEN M. STEELE
In 1972, a famous science fiction author decided he had done enough writing about the future — he would bring it to life. The fictional author put into motion a plan that would consume his family for generations: bringing interstellar travel from science fiction to reality. Allen Steele’s Arkwright charts those generations as they work to turn his vision into reality by bringing humanity to the stars.
What’s astonishing to me about this novel is that, weeks after it was published, Stephen Hawking announced project Starshot, which is essentially a version of the interstellar travel that Arkwright depicts. Steele’s approach fixates on realism, and so this one of those few science fiction novels that could, in time, look similar to fact.
UNITED STATES OF JAPAN BY PETER TIERYAS
Here are a few things we like: giant robots, alternate history, and the 1980s. Mash all of those together, and you get Peter Tieryas’s novel United States of Japan, a “spiritual sequel” to Philip K. Dick’s Man in the High Castle. The novel uses a similar premise: the US lost the Second World War, and is occupied by Japan and Germany. But Tieryas puts a cyberpunk twist on the story, involving subversive video games and giant mecha.
The characters in United States of Japan are obsessed with the goal of creating a better world, but they quickly realize that it’s difficult for the leaders of a revolution or war to keep their ideological crusade alive once they gain power.
UNDERGROUND AIRLINES BY BEN WINTERS
In the alternate world of Underground Airlines, the Civil War never occurred. The world is like ours, but for one major difference: slavery exists in a handful of states in the USA. A young bounty hunter for the US Marshall Service, Victor, is tasked with tracking down runaway slaves and returning them to the businesses that claim ownership of them. But Victor, his next target, and the titular underground airlines are not as they seem.
This is an incredible, tense thriller, and one that shows the danger of societal complacency, especially when it comes to the plight of minorities and the oppressed. It’s a quick but gripping read, one that leaves an enormous and lasting impression.
BIG BOOK OF SCIENCE FICTION BY ANN AND JEFF VANDERMEER
Anthologies are hit or miss. Sometimes you’ll like half of the book, and every so often you’ll be blown away by every story. Ann and Jeff Vandermeer’s doorstop of a science fiction anthology goes beyond just entertaining the reader: it looks to show off a representative slice of the history of science fiction from across the world.
This is a massive book, and an incredibly thorough examination of the genre. There are other survey anthologies out there — books that seek to cover the width and breadth of a topic — but none are as complete or interesting.
Other sci-fi and fantasy books from 2016 that we recommend:
Company Town by Madeline Ashby; Borderline by Mishell Baker; Iraq + 100: Stories from a Century After the Invasion edited by Hassan Blasim; The Cold Between and The Remnants of Trust by Elizabeth Bonesteel; Dark Run by Mike Brooks; Spellbreaker by Blake Charlton; Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey; Four Roads Cross by Max Gladstone; The Regional Office is Under Attack by Manuel Gonzalez; Supernova by CA. Higgins; The Fireman by Joe Hill; Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee; Death’s End by Cixin Liu; Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction edited by Ken Liu; Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia; Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer; Cumulus by Eliot Peper; A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl; Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff; Everfair by Nisi Shawl; Central Station by Lavie Tidhar; Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay; Cloudbound by Fran Wilde
In 2016, NASA drove advances in technology, science, aeronautics and space exploration that enhanced the world’s knowledge, innovation, and stewardship of Earth.“This past year marked record-breaking progress in our exploration objectives,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “We advanced the capabilities we’ll need to travel farther into the solar system while increasing observations of our home and the universe, learning more about how to continuously live and work in space, and, of course, inspiring the next generation of leaders to take up our Journey to Mars and make their own discoveries.
”Solar System and Beyond
This illustration depicts NASA’s Juno spacecraft at Jupiter, with its solar arrays and main antenna pointed toward the distant sun and Earth.
After an almost five-year journey to the solar system’s largest planet, NASA’s Juno spacecraft successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit July 4. Juno will probe beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and study its auroras to learn more about the planet’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere. Returning data and images to Earth gathered by NASA’s Space Network will keep scientists busy for years to come.
The Sept. 8 launch of NASA’s first asteroid sampling mission began a journey that could revolutionize our understanding of the early solar system. Called the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx), the spacecraft is designed to rendezvous with and study the asteroid Bennu, and then return a sample of it to Earth in 2023.
NASA Administrator Bolden with agency scientists and engineers discussed the next steps for NASA’s next great observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope, while also providing a rare glimpse of the telescope’s mirrors following completion of the final primary mirror segment in February. The biggest and most powerful space telescope ever designed now is being prepared for transport to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in 2017 for testing prior to final assembly and launch in 2018.
After years of preparatory studies, NASA in 2016 formally started an astrophysics mission designed to help unlock the secrets of the universe. Called the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), it will aid researchers in their efforts to unravel the secrets of dark energy and dark matter, and explore the evolution of the cosmos. It also will discover new worlds outside our solar system — known as exoplanets — and advance the search for worlds that could be suitable for life.This artist’s concept depicts select planetary discoveries made to date by NASA’s Kepler space telescope.
Credits: NASA/W. Stenzel
NASA’s Kepler mission in May verified 1,284 new planets – the single largest finding of exoplanets to date — more than doubling the number of confirmed planets from Kepler. This gave scientists hope that somewhere out there, around a star much like ours, we can eventually discover another Earth. Analysis was performed on the Kepler space telescope’s July planet candidate catalog, which identified 4,302 potential planets.
Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope imaged what may be water vapor plumes erupting off the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa. Europa has a huge global ocean containing twice as much water as Earth’s oceans, and the moon is considered to be one of the most promising places that could potentially harbor life in the solar system.New research in May indicated solar explosions may have been the key to seeding life on Earth as we know it some 4 billion years ago.
Like sending sensors up into a hurricane, NASA announced in May it had successfully flown for the first time the four Magnetospheric Multiscale, or MMS, spacecraft through an invisible maelstrom in space, called magnetic reconnection. MMS now also holds the Guinness World Record for highest altitude fix of a GPS signal at 43,500 miles above the surface.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft now is entering the final year of its epic voyage. While this historic science odyssey will conclude in September 2017, the spacecraft will first complete a daring two-part endgame. On Nov. 30, Cassini began a series of 20 weekly F-ring orbits, just past the outer edge of the main rings. Cassini’s final phase — called the grand finale — begins in April 2017.NASA’s New Horizons mission reached a major milestone in October when the last bits of science data from the Pluto flyby – stored on the spacecraft’s digital recorders since July 2015 – arrived safely on Earth.In June, the mission received the green light to fly onward to a 2019 rendezvous with an object deeper in the Kuiper Belt, known as 2014 MU69. In January, NASA announced it was formalizing its ongoing program for detecting and tracking near-Earth objects (NEOs) as the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO). The office supervises all NASA-funded projects to find and characterize asteroids and comets that pass near Earth’s orbit. It also takes a leadi
Οι φοβεροί και τρομεροί Μωμόγεροι, που βγαίνουν στους δρόμους παραμονές των Χριστουγέννων και πειράζουν τον κόσμο, χορεύοντας και τραγουδώντας, το εθιμικό δρώμενο που τελείται σε οκτώ χωριά της Κοζάνης, εντάχθηκε στον Αντιπροσωπευτικό Κατάλογο της Άυλης Πολιτιστικής Κληρονομιάς της Ανθρωπότητας της UNESCO.
Οι Μωμόγεροι είναι ένα από τα πολλά καρναβαλικά δρώμενα του δωδεκαημέρου και πραγματοποιείται με μικρές παραλλαγές σε πολλές περιοχές της Βόρειας Ελλάδας, με εορταστικό περιεχόμενο και συνδυάζεται με τον ερχομό του νέου έτους.
Στην Κοζάνη γίνεται σε οκτώ χωριά, οι κάτοικοι των οποίων είναι Πόντιοι, απόγονοι προσφύγων από την περιοχή της ορεινής Τραπεζούντας (Ματσούκα), που εγκαταστάθηκαν στην Ελλάδα το 1923.
Χαρακτηρίζεται από μουσική, χορούς και έντονη θεατρική διάσταση, καθώς περιλαμβάνει μία πλειάδα θεατρικών ρόλων, που ενσαρκώνονται από τα μέλη της κοινότητας. Το εθιμικό δρώμενο των Μωμόγερων είναι το τέταρτο στοιχείο Άυλης Πολιτιστικής Κληρονομιάς που εγγράφει η χώρα μας στον συγκεκριμένο κατάλογο της UNESCO.
Είχαν προηγηθεί η εγγραφή της Μεσογειακής Δίαιτας (από κοινού με την Ιταλία, Ισπανία, Μαρόκο, Πορτογαλία, Κύπρο, Κροατία), η Παραδοσιακή Μαστιχοκαλλιέργεια στη Χίο, καθώς και η Τηνιακή Μαρμαροτεχνία.
Φακέλους υποψηφιότητας για εγγραφή στον ίδιο κατάλογο της UNESCO έχει υποβάλει η χώρα μας για το Ρεμπέτικο.