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FOR WRITERS: Author Photos / Avatars

Bad hair day - deposit photos

FOR WRITERS Today’s writer topic comes from QSFer Scott: How did you choose your author photo/avatar? Did a professional take or make it? Ever had an unintentionally funny issue with one? Writers: This is a writer chat – you are welcome to share your own book/link, as long as it fits the chat, but please do so as part of a discussion about the topic. Join the chat: FB:

SPACE: A Cloudy Day on Mars

clouds on Mars

It might look like a postcard from Arizona, but this snapshot shows something much more exotic: the planet Mars, as seen by NASA’s Curiosity rover. The image is a combination of 21 individual photographs the rover took recently to study a strange type of wispy cloud over its Gale Crater home. Scientists realized two Earth years ago that the cloud type was forming earlier in the Martian year than they expected. So this Martian year, Curiosity was watching for the early clouds, and it was not disappointed. The clouds did indeed show up beginning in late January, when the robotic … Read more

SPACE: Mars Odyssey Snaps Beautiful Color-Enhanced Photo of North Pole

Mars North Pole - NASA

NASA astronomers just shared a colorful new view of Mars that proves the Red Planet also looks great in blue. Using a special infrared camera aboard the Mars Odyssey orbiter, which has been soaring over the Red Planet since 2001, researchers snapped a thermal image of the Martian north pole, digitally colored to highlight the wide-ranging temperatures there. Areas tinted in blue represent colder regions, while warmer areas are tinted in yellow and orange, according to a NASA statement. In this image — which covers an area of the pole about 19 miles (30 kilometers) wide — vast sand dunes … Read more

SPACE: Ultima Thule Looks Like a Snowman

Ultima Thule, an icy world 4 billion miles from the sun, looks like a big snowman. At a news conference on Wednesday, scientists working with NASA’s New Horizons mission released several images that the spacecraft took as it flew by on Jan. 1. The scientists now say with confidence that Ultima Thule long ago was two bodies that got stuck together, what they call a contact binary. “Two completely separate objects that are now joined together,” said S. Alan Stern, the principal investigator for the mission. Full Story at the New York Times

SPACE: NASA’s Stunning Moon Photo Will Make You Swoon

Moon - NASA

The moon is pretty enough here from Earth, but it’s even more stunning up close, as this new photograph from NASA reminds us. The image was captured on Nov. 3 by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling the moon since 2009. While the crater itself is not quite so young, it’s still pretty fresh — it formed less than 100 million years ago, the spacecraft’s camera team said. “Look closely at this crater. Some might say they see a hole in the ground,” representatives of Arizona State University, which runs the three cameras on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, … Read more

TBT: Sir Ian McKellen Shares Photo From 1960’s – Hubba Hubba

Sir Ian McKellen

Actor and gay activist Ian McKellen has shared a shot of himself in the 1960s – and fans are going wild. The Lord of the Rings actor included the simple caption: “#TBT 1960s The Black.” Fans were soon to respond to the tweet, posting memes to represent how flustered McKellen’s shot had made them. One wrote: “Wow. You were(are) a beautiful man.” Another said: “Now that’s some #smoulder right there!” By Ella Braidwood – Full Story at Pink News

PHOTO: Solar Halo or Portal Into Another Dimension?

Sun Halo

Skiers in Sweden last month were treated to an otherworldly sun halo as they hit the slopes. APOD writes: “What’s happened to the Sun? Sometimes it looks like the Sun is being viewed through a giant lens. In the featured video, however, there are actually millions of tiny lenses: ice crystals. Water may freeze in the atmosphere into small, flat, six-sided, ice crystals. As these crystals flutter to the ground, much time is spent with their faces flat and parallel to the ground. An observer may find themselves in the same plane as many of the falling ice crystals near … Read more