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Hurricane Sandy: After Landfall

Last night, Hurricane Sandy -- the largest Atlantic tropical system on record -- made landfall just south of Atlantic City, New Jersey, bringing winds up to 90 mph (150 kph), and pushing a massive storm surge onto beaches and shorelines. At least 12 deaths have been reported in the United States. These fatalities, when added to the previous toll in the Caribbean, leave Sandy responsible for more taking more than 80 lives to date. Millions across the Eastern Seaboard are now without power, and even more are struggling with rising floodwater. Sandy continues northward, now downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, and those affected are now assessing the damage. Collected here are images of Sandy's aftermath, many from New York City, which suffered widespread blackouts and a record-setting high tide early this morning. [54 photos]


Hurricane Sandy in Photos

Hurricane Sandy, which has already claimed over 50 lives in the Caribbean, has traveled north. It will soon bring heavy winds and floodwaters to the mid-Atlantic region, combining with other weather systems to possibly become what some are calling a historic "superstorm." Gathered here are images from Sandy's story so far, from the Caribbean to preparations along the East Coast of the United States. In the next hours, as Sandy makes landfall, I will continue to update this post with new images from the newswires and elsewhere. [50 photos]


Hajj 2012, A Sacred Journey

The Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam and one of the largest religious pilgrimages in the world, is currently taking place in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Starting earlier this week, and continuing through Monday, approximately 3.4 million Muslims from around the world are participating in several rituals, including the Tawaf -- the circumambulation of the Kaaba, the enormous cube-shaped building in the center of the Masjid al-Haram mosque. The pilgrims are are also taking part in the Sa'i, traveling back and forth between the mountains of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah, and Ramy al-Jamarat, in which they throw pebbles at three walls in the city of Mina to show their defiance of the Devil. The rituals and locations date back to the 7th Century, but much of the surrounding area has grown and changed radically over the years. For comparison, I've included several historical images of Mecca as well, dating back as far as 1889. The rest of the photos depict this year's Hajj and the pilgrims on their sacred journey. [34 photos]


Fall Is in the Air, Part II

Autumn is a season of frosty mornings, festivals, and of course, spectacular foliage. Around the north, people have begun to see their breath form misty clouds in the chilly morning air, leaves are reaching peak color, and animals are on the move. Collected here is a second group of images of this year's autumn from around the northern hemisphere. [32 photos]


Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

The Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, founded in 1964, is an annual international showcase for the very best nature photography. Owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide, the contest includes 18 individual categories, ranging from birds and mammals to "Creative Visions" and "Nature in Black & White." This year's competition drew more than 48,000 entries from 98 countries. The winning photos will be on exhibit at the Natural History Museum in London until March 3, 2013. The owners and sponsors have been kind enough to share the following 10 images from their group of overall winners. [10 photos]


Ferry Disaster in Hong Kong

On Monday night, a passenger ferry and a smaller boat collided near Lamma Island, off the southwestern coast of Hong Kong, causing the smaller vessel to partially sink and killing 38 holiday revelers, including five children. The large passenger ferry, called the Sea Smooth, was a company boat taking more than 120 employees of Hongkong Electric Co. and their family members to Victoria Harbor to view fireworks celebrating the mid-autumn festival and China's National Day. Hong Kong police have launched an investigation, arresting six crew members from both vessels today. [22 photos]


Fall Is in the Air

The autumnal equinox took place on September 22, marking the end of summer and the start of fall across the Northern Hemisphere. Autumn is the season of harvests, festivals, migrations, winter preparations, and of course, spectacular foliage. Across the north, people are beginning to feel a crisp chill in the evening air, leaves are reaching peak color, apples and pumpkins are being gathered, and animals are on the move. Collected here are some early images from this year's autumn -- more will come later as the season unfolds. [36 photos]


The Great Wall of China

Beginning in the 7th century BC, a series of massive defensive fortifications were constructed along China's northern border. Built to protect China from northern attacks, the walls stretched out for thousands of kilometers, many joining together to become the Great Wall of China. Over several centuries, the wall and thousands of supporting structures were built across mountains, deserts, and rivers, eventually stretching more than 20,000 kilometers in length. Sections of the wall near large cities are well-maintained, but many remote areas are slowly being reclaimed by nature. Gathered here are images of the Great Wall over the years, from its westernmost pass at Jiayuguan to where it meets the sea in Qinhuangdao. [37 photos]


Scenes From Antarctica

Summer is returning to Antarctica and researcher teams from around the world are heading south for the (relatively) warm season. Among them are members of a Russian team that drilled into Lake Vostok last February. Vostok is a subglacial lake some 4,000 meters below the surface of the ice, and the plan is to send a robot down there this summer to collect water samples and sediments from the bottom. Research also continues at the South Pole Telescope, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, and dozens of other locations around Antarctica. Gathered here are recent images of Antarctica, its environment, and some of the scientific work taking place there. [37 photos]


Lighting Up the Night

Around the world, people are using light to paint, perform, honor, work, and play. In villages and cities alike, lanterns and candles are used to celebrate and commemorate events. In Berlin, famous landmarks are currently being illuminated for the annual Festival of Lights. In Florida, a private spacecraft climbed into orbit atop a pillar of fire, and around the globe, dozens of buildings were bathed in pink for breast cancer awareness month. Gathered here is a handful of recent images of humans pushing back the dark and lighting up the night. [31 photos]


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