Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

The Big Picture: Hurricanes

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitSeptember 9, 2008 12:01 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

The Boston Globe's Big Picture section is rapidly becoming my favorite site on the web. It features dazzling hi-res photos with various themes. They've done it again this week: hurricanes, as seen from space.

bigpic_hurricanes.jpg

That's hurricane Emily and the Moon, as photographed in 2005 by an astronaut on board the International Space Station. There are lots more there for you to gawk at. ... and it reminds me how miserly Nature is with shapes. Hurricanes look a lot like cream stirred into coffee, and the physics is similar. However, spiral galaxies are spirals for an entirely different reason. But to our eyes, they bear a striking resemblance. Their symmetry, their composition, their apparent grace all lend themselves for us to be awestruck... but for hurricanes, on a closer scale, they are truly frightening. With Ike currently bearing down on the Gulf coast, it's good to remember that beauty from afar can be deceiving.

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In