Big Picture: Hiroshima

A couple months ago Big Picture posted a number of photos remembering Tiananmen Square – this week it’s about the bombing of Hiroshima at the end of the second world war.

Tomorrow, August 6th, marks 64 years since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan by the United States at the end of World War II. Targeted for military reasons and for its terrain (flat for easier assessment of the aftermath), Hiroshima was home to approximately 250,000 people at the time of the bombing. The U.S. B-29 Superfortress bomber “Enola Gay” took off from Tinian Island very early on the morning of August 6th, carrying a single 4,000 kg (8,900 lb) uranium bomb codenamed “Little Boy”. At 8:15 am, Little Boy was dropped from 9,400 m (31,000 ft) above the city, freefalling for 57 seconds while a complicated series of fuse triggers looked for a target height of 600 m (2,000 ft) above the ground. At the moment of detonation, a small explosive initiated a super-critical mass in 64 kg (141 lbs) of uranium. Of that 64 kg, only .7 kg (1.5 lbs) underwent fission, and of that mass, only 600 milligrams was converted into energy – an explosive energy that seared everything within a few miles, flattened the city below with a massive shockwave, set off a raging firestorm and bathed every living thing in deadly radiation. Nearly 70,000 people are believed to have been killed immediately, with possibly another 70,000 survivors dying of injuries and radiation exposure by 1950. Today, Hiroshima houses a Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum near ground zero, promoting a hope to end the existence of all nuclear weapons. (34 photos total) – source Big Picture

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Color photograph of the ruins of central Hiroshima in autumn of 1945. (U.S. National Archives)

Big Picture: Total eclipse, of the sun!

Simply stunning! [via Big Picture]

Earlier today, the moon passed directly in front of the sun, causing a total solar eclipse that crossed nearly half the Earth – through Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and China. Today’s was the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century, lasting as much as 6 minutes and 39 seconds in a few areas. Despite cloudy skies in many of the populated areas in the path, millions of people gathered outside to gaze up and view this rare event. Collected here are a few images of the eclipse, and those people who came out to watch. (33 photos total)

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Much of the sun's corona becomes visible as the moon passes between the sun and the earth during a total solar eclipse, seen above Varanasi, India, Wednesday, July 22, 2009. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

Big Picture: Remembering Tiananmen

When this picture was taken I was a junior in high school and I remember seeing it in the news. 20 years on and thousands of people are still remembering. Big Picture celebrates the 20th anniversary of what happened at Tiananmen Square with a collection of photos from then and now.

June 4th, 2009, marked the 20th anniversary of the military crackdown on student protesters gathered in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. Beginning in April of 1989, thousands of students and other citizens started gathering in groups large and small, protesting many issues, centered on a desire for freedom and democratic reform. By mid-May of 1989, hundreds of thousands of protesters occupied the square, staging hunger strikes, and asking for dialogue. Chinese authorities responded with a declaration of martial law, and sent soldiers and tanks from the People’s Liberation Army, preparing to disperse the crowds. Late on June 3rd, 1989, the tanks and armored personnel carriers rolled into the square, killing and wounding many, mostly civilians – estimates vary widely, from several hundred to several thousand dead. The first 17 photos below were taken in 1989, the rest are from this year, as people remember the events, the ideals, and the fallout from that fateful day. (32 photos total)

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In this June 5, 1989 file photo, a Chinese protestor blocks a line of tanks heading east on Beijing's Cangan Blvd. June 5, 1989 in front of the Beijing Hotel. The man was shortly pulled away and the tanks continued on their way. (AP Photo/Jeff Widener)

Big Picture: Jason Hawkes Man-made structures from above

Boston.com’s Big Picture has featured Jason Hawkes’ photos a number of times before and I’ve re-posted those here and here. Today they’re featuring another sample of 26 photos he took while flying over various locations in a helicopter. Click through to enjoy the rest. 

Photographer Jason Hawkes returns to The Big Picture once more, this time venturing away from London (seen previously here and here). Recently, Hawkes has been carrying his Nikon D3 aboard helicopters around the world, hanging out the doorway and capturing landscapes – most somehow affected by humans – below. Today, he has shared with us 26 more of his favorite photos from above France, Las Vegas, Hong Kong, the UK and more – with links to Google maps where available. (26 photos total) – source Boston.com

(© Jason Hawkes)”]bigpicture_2009_04_chrysler

Big Picture: Earth Day

While we were caught up with our own issues surrounding the South African Elections we (meaning I) forgot that it was Earth Day also on the 22nd of April – but the rest of the world and Boston.com’s Big Picture didn’t.

Today is Earth Day, a day set aside for awarenesss and appreciation of the Earth’s environment, and our roles within it – this year marking the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. As a way to help appreciate and observe our environment, I’ve collected 40 images below, each a glimpse into some aspect of the world around us, how it affects and sustains us, and how we affect it. Happy Earth Day everyone. (40 photos total) – source Boston.com

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This view of Earth, featuring North, Central and South America was taken by the NASA probe called Messenger, while conducting a fly-by of our planet in order to pick up a gravity-assist boost on its way toward Mercury. (NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington)

Big Picture: Protests at the G20 summit

Some striking phtos from Boston.com’s The Big Picture of the protesting that happened earlier this week in London’s business district. There are always reason’s people protest but the violence that ensue’s is most likely always caused by the unruly ones who insist on chaos and then peer-pressure results in the rest following suit. Click here to view them all.

Thousands of protesters gathered in London, England on April 1st and 2nd to demonstrate against an array of issues, largely anti-capitalist or pro-environmental in nature. A large underlying theme was anger with the effects of the economic downturn and a call for accountability and responsibility. While the majority of protesters were peaceful, a number of them took to smashing windows and throwing debris at police lines. London police responded with baton charges and arrests. Similar protests are now taking place in Strasbourg, France, which hosts a NATO summit today. (36 photos total)

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A demonstrator speaks with police during a protest in the City of London on April 1, 2009. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Big Picture: Earth Hour 2009

As most of you know, many people in over 1000 cities around the  globe celebrated Earth Hour between 20h30 and 21h30 local time.  Photo-journalists from around the world took pictures of various attractions before and during Earth Hour 2009. Note, you can click on the various pictures on the Big Picture post to view the cities and landmarks with and without lights. Quite simply – amazing!

Started in Sydney, Australia in 2007, Earth Hour quickly grew into a global observance. More than 1,000 cities in over 80 countries observed Earth Hour 2009 on Saturday March 29th, as homes, office towers and landmarks turned off their lights for an hour starting at 8.30 pm local time to raise awareness about climate change and the threat from rising greenhouse gas emissions. Collected here are a series of before-and-after photographs – which (starting with the second one below) will fade between “on” and “off” when clicked. Let me state that again, since I know not everyone reads the whole intro here – starting with image #2 below, click on the image to see an animated fade between “on” and “off”. This effect requires javascript to be enabled. (17 photos total) – source Boston.com

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The Eiffel Tower before and during Earth Hour in Paris, France on March 28, 2009. (REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)

VOTD: Undersea Volcano erupting

You may have seen the recent pictures over at Boston.com’s The Big Picture – if not head on over quickly to see some spectacular shots (like the one below).

Today, on Damn Cool Pics I spotted a post of the volcano eruption which you can see in the embedded video below as well.

[source Boston.com and DCP]

Scientists sailed out to have a closer look at the eruptions of an undersea volcano off the coast of Tonga in the South Pacific Ocean today. Tonga’s head geologist, Kelepi Mafi, said there was no apparent danger to residents of Nuku’alofa and others living on the main island of Tongatapu. Officials also said it may be related to a quake with a magnitude of 4.4 which struck last March 13 around 35 kilometers from the capital at a depth of nearly 150 kilometres. (I know this is an off-day posting, but really, thought the images were worth it – 12 photos total)

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An undersea volcano erupts off the coast of Tonga, sending plumes of steam, ash and smoke up to 100 meters into the air, on March 18, 2009, off the coast of Nuku'Alofa, Tonga. (Dana Stephenson/Getty Images)

Big Picture: Photos from 30,000 feet

I just love The Big Picture at Boston.com – they’ve just released a set of photos that were taken at 30,000 feet during an experiment by Spanish students.

On February 28th, a team of four Spanish teenage students and their instructor from IES La Bisbal school in Catalonia launched a weather probe they designed and built themselves. Their helium-filled balloon carried a payload of electronics and a camera to take atmospheric measurements and photographs throughout the trip. After getting permission from aviation officials and getting good weather, they released the probe on a trip that took it over 30,000 meters (19 miles) above sea level, through winds gusting up to 100 kph, and temperatures reaching -54C (-65.2F), and traveling 38 kilometers overland in a time of 2 hours and 10 minutes. The Meteotek08 team has collected their images and data on both their blog and flickr page, and has kindly given me permission to share these photos here with you. (28 photos total) – source Boston.com

I picked up from the comments that there have been a couple other occurrances too of students sending cameras up with baloons to take pictures from above. 

Pictures taken with a Pentax k10d from a high-altitude sounding balloon. Experiment conducted by Oklahoma State University while testing a new cosmic radiation detector.

The Best of Borealis page also has a number of great photos taken from above.

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The upper part of the sky is looking blacker now. (Meteotek08 Team)

 

Big Picture: Scenes from the recession

As the saying goes: “A picture is worth a thousand words” – so there’s very little left for me to say other than these pictures strike home the reality that, the world is in a recession. 

The state of our global economy: foreclosures, evictions, bankruptcies, layoffs, abandoned projects, and the people and industries caught in the middle. It can be difficult to capture financial pressures in photographs, but here a few recent glimpses into some of the places and lives affected by what some are calling the “Great Recession”. (35 photos total) – source Boston.com

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Brittney Nance holds her head as she works on her laptop in her motel room at the Old Town Inn March 5, 2009 in West Sacramento, California. Brittney and her family were evicted from the house they were renting after her husband, Steve Nance, lost his job. The couple and their three children are living in a budget motel while they save enough money for deposit on a new rental home, but are finding it difficult as they pay nearly $1200 a month for the motel room. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)