Imaggeo on Mondays: Sequoias in full moon

25 Jun

Sequoias in full moon by Michael Prather, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

The Sequoia National Park in Sierra Nevada, California, is one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the United States. The park, spanning over 1,600 square kilometres, is home to high mountains, deep canyons, and long and pristine caves. But its most distinct feature are giant sequoias, the world’s largest trees.

Sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) grow to an average height of 50 to 85 metres and have typical diametres of six to nine metres. The Sequoia National Park is home to General Sherman, the world’s largest (in volume) living tree, calculated to have a volume close to 1,500 cubic metres.

The giant trees frame a beautiful starry sky in this photo by Michael Prather. He took this picture in February 2010 during a family holiday to the Wuksachi area of the Sequoia National Park. He explains that the picture was taken the night after a very heavy snow storm. “We spent the weekend in Wuksachi, getting hit with about 24″ [~60cm] of snow overnight. The snow on the trees was heavy and lit up like daylight by the moon.  I was surprised to be able to see Orion so clearly with the near-full moon, but the sky was very clear.”

The lower half of the constellation of Orion is visible at the top centre of the photograph. The three stars that make up the belt of The Hunter appear clearly, and a more careful viewing also reveals the fuzzy Orion nebula – the middle of the three ‘stars’ south of the belt.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

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