National Geographic News
A photo of a cherry blossom tree in Japan, against the night sky.

A cherry tree sits under the stars in Japan.

PHOTOGRAPH BY SHINGO TAKEI, TWAN

Jane J. Lee

National Geographic

Published April 18, 2014

The night sky presides over a cherry tree in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, on April 12.

The mayor of Tokyo presented 3,000 cherry trees to Washington, D.C., in 1912 as a sign of friendship between Japan and the U.S. The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival honors that gift.

Auroras light up the night sky near Stokksnes, Iceland, on April 12. Elisabetta Rosso captured the image—which she submitted to YourShot—the night before her birthday. (See more pictures of auroras.)

Lines in the Sand

A photo of tracks from NASA's Curiosity Mars rover.
PHOTOGRAPH BY NASA/JPL-CALTECH/UNIV. OF ARIZONA

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter caught the trail of tracks left by the Curiosity rover on April 11. The tracks, which run from the top left to the bottom third of the image, lead to a small 16-foot (5-meter) rise dubbed Mount Remarkable.

Researchers wanted a closer look at the rocky outcrop surrounding Mount Remarkable before deciding whether to have Curiosity drill for samples. (See "Mars Rover Curiosity Completes First Full Drill.")

A Warped Galaxy

A photo of two galaxies in the constellation Ursa Major.

NGC 3718 (at right) is a warped spiral galaxy embedded in the Ursa Major constellation. According to NASA, gravity exerted on NGC 3718 by its neighbor, NGC 3729 (at left), is probably responsible for the twisting and stretching of the galaxy's arms.

Astrophotographer Fred Herrmann submitted this image to YourShot on April 11. (Listen to how he gets the shot.)

Fire and Ice

A photo of the Klyuchevskaya volcano from space.
PHOTOGRAPH BY NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY

A NASA satellite captured an image of Klyuchevskaya Volcano on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula (map) on April 14.

Klyuchevskaya is a stratovolcano, known for eruptions that produce pyroclastic flows. Toxic gases and volcanic fragments characterize these flows, and can barrel down the side of a volcano at hurricane-force speeds. (See "Pictures: When Snow and Ice Meet Lava.")

A Blood Moon

A photo of the red moon during the lunar eclipse.
PHOTOGRAPH BY BABAK TAFRESHI, TWAN

On the night of April 14 and into the early hours of the next day, the moon turned blood red during a total lunar eclipse. It's the first of four consecutive total lunar eclipses to occur over the next year and a half, with the remaining three on October 8, 2014; April 4, 2015; and September 28, 2015.

Photographer Babak Tafreshi captured the event from the La Silla Observatory near Chile's Atacama Desert. (See "Lunar Eclipse Myths From Around the World.")

24 comments
Sally Welch
Sally Welch

If only I could take a photograph like that, Amazing.

Zane Schwartz
Zane Schwartz

I was able to capture awesome pictures of the blood moon with just a small telescope and my iPhone.  Check out my blood moon iAstrophotography!

Francesco Sinibaldi
Francesco Sinibaldi

Un son d'espérance.


La douce

émotion, quand

une lueur épuisée

revient dans le

noir pour décrire

la jeunesse, est

comme le sourire

qui rappelle la

pensée.


Francesco Sinibaldi


ikhlaq khan
ikhlaq khan

Indeed Almighty GOD is the best of the Creator.

a. mane
a. mane

Amazing picture !!!!

Glenn Johnson
Glenn Johnson

The cherry tree and iceland image are fantastic. How were they taken?

Himanshu D.
Himanshu D.

Amazing!! All the pics have something deviant.

Anastasia G.
Anastasia G.

Very beautiful! Especially the photo with the galaxies. Amazing! 

amy dunnill
amy dunnill

Sometimes I like looking at the big picture just so I can remember to keep this little life in perspective.

Andrew Booth
Andrew Booth

These Space Pictures are always breathtaking.

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