从观景台俯瞰格雷梅,格雷梅国家公园,土耳其卡帕多西亚省 View of Göreme from an observation deck, Göreme National Park, Cappadocia, Turkey (© Anton Petrus/Getty Images)

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从观景台俯瞰格雷梅,格雷梅国家公园土耳其卡帕多西亚省 View of Göreme from an observation deck, Göreme National Park, Cappadocia, Turkey (© Anton Petrus/Getty Images)

那些生动的岩石 Living rock

Göreme, in Cappadocia, Turkey

Both natural wonders and historic landmarks, the 'fairy chimneys' of Göreme may suggest the fantastical dwellings of an alien species or an illustration from a Dr. Seuss book. These and similar rock formations are known by many names—hoodoos, tent rocks, earth pyramids, as well as fairy chimneys—and are typically found in dry, hot areas. Here in Cappadocia, in south-central Turkey, they were formed when a thick layer of volcanic ash solidified over millions of years into soft, porous rock called tuff that was overlaid by hard basalt. Cracks in the basalt allowed wind and rain to gradually wash away the softer bottom layer, leaving the hard basalt to cap tall columns of the tuff. The result is these unusual, often beautiful—and perhaps puzzling—formations that spread across the Anatolian plain.

This part of modern day Turkey has been inhabited since at least the Hittite era, between 1800 and 1200 BCE, and possibly for much longer. Innumerable ancient empires fought over the region, with Hittites, Assyrians, Neo-Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans each laying claim to Anatolia at times. To escape this dangerous world, the locals learned to burrow into the hillsides for protection. Today, a visitor can see the vast, complex, interconnected caves in which societies thrived and sheltered for millennia. Göreme National Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985 and is now a popular tourist destination.




拉西拉ESO天文台上的天文望远镜设备,智利 Swedish antenna at La Silla ESO Observatory, Chile (© Alberto Ghizzi Panizza/Getty Images)

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拉西拉ESO天文台上的天文望远镜设备,智利 Swedish antenna at La Silla ESO Observatory, Chile (© Alberto Ghizzi Panizza/Getty Images)

仰望夜空 Eyes on the skies

Astronomy Day

In one of the darkest places on Earth there's a cluster of telescopes that examine the heavens each night, sending detailed information about the celestial bodies they observe to astronomers across the planet. Far from any population centers or light pollution, the Atacama Desert is the world's driest nonpolar desert. It's the perfect place for La Silla Observatory, one of the largest observatories in the Southern Hemisphere, and the first to be used by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), a research organization made up of astronomers from 16 European nations. The first ESO telescope at the La Silla site in Chile began operating in 1966.

And what better place to spend World Astronomy Day? Started in 1973 by Doug Berger, the president of the Astronomical Association of Northern California, Berger's initial intent was to set up various telescopes in busy urban locations so that passersby could enjoy views of the heavens. Since then, the event has expanded and is now sponsored by several organizations associated with astronomy. The springtime Astronomy Day is mirrored by another in the fall between mid-September and mid-October.



还有什么地方能更好地度过世界天文日呢?1973年,北加州天文协会主席道格·伯杰(Doug Berger)创立了该望远镜,伯杰最初的意图是在繁忙的城市地点安装各种望远镜,以便路人可以欣赏天空。从那时起,这项活动已经扩大,现在由几个与天文学有关的组织赞助。9月中旬至10月中旬之间的季,春季天文学日与另一个天文学日相映成趣。

一条蜿蜒穿过开满蓝铃花森林的小径,英格兰赫特福德郡 A path winding through a forest of bluebells in Hertfordshire, England (© JayKay57/Getty Images)

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一条蜿蜒穿过开满蓝铃花森林的小径,英格兰赫特福德郡 A path winding through a forest of bluebells in Hertfordshire, England (© JayKay57/Getty Images)

是否有胆量穿过这片蓝铃丛? Dare to tread through the fairy flower?

Bluebells in Hertfordshire, England

For just a few weeks every spring, across the pond in England and under the newly forming woodland canopy, one of the most enchanting flowers begins to bloom. The bluebell is known by many names but those who know it as the 'fairy flower' might be the most prepared to withstand its strong, sweetly scented allure. According to British folklore, a blooming bluebell carpet on the woodland floor is a mystical place where fairies live. The legends hold that fairies hang their spells on the flowers to dry, and disturbing them would unleash the magic. In earlier times, children were warned that picking bluebells would cause them to be spirited away. Even adults could fall victim to the flower, being doomed to wander the woods and never escape. And heaven forbid you ever happen to hear the fairies ring the bluebells for their gatherings—it means your death is imminent, a belief that inspired another name for bluebells: 'dead men's bells.'

The truth of the matter is that bluebells are considered toxic. Ancient folktales about fairies were a good way to make sure curious humans avoided handling them. But enjoying their beauty is a whole different matter. Walking through ancient woodland to catch a glimpse of these short-lived beauties is a popular activity throughout the United Kingdom where they are most often found, like those in today's photo of Hertfordshire, England. Rare in other parts of the world, there has been a success in transplanting them, should you want to want to tempt fate with the fairies.




蓝色龙舌兰田,墨西哥哈利斯科州龙舌兰酒产区 Tree in blue agave field in the tequila producing region near Atotonilco, Jalisco, Mexico (© Brian Overcast/Alamy)

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蓝色龙舌兰田,墨西哥哈利斯科州龙舌兰酒产区 Tree in blue agave field in the tequila producing region near Atotonilco, Jalisco, Mexico (© Brian Overcast/Alamy)

这种蓝色多汁的植物就像黄金一样珍贵 This blue succulent is as good as gold here

Cinco de Mayo

Many celebrations of Cinco de Mayo, or May 5, owe a debt to these rolling fields of blue agave, or agave Azul, the source material required to make genuine tequila. The distilled spirit is to Mexico what Scotch whisky is to Scotland and sake to Japan. Tequila is also the base ingredient in the beloved margarita cocktail certain to be served in abundance today.

Blue agave is native to Jalisco, a coastal state of Mexico, where it grows head-high in the rich sandy soils of Jalisco's highlands. Its flowers are pollinated, not by bees or birds, but by the Mexican long-nosed bat, adding to this succulent's mystique. The bat's favorite food is the pollen and nectar of agave. Tequila is made by roasting the heart of the plant and then crushing or squeezing it to release a sugary, clear liquid called aguamiel, which translates to honey water. That liquid is distilled to produce tequila. Authentic tequila, by law, can be made only in Jalisco and a few municipalities outside it, and its authenticity is protected by trade agreements.

Tequila's association with Cinco de Mayo in the US probably owes to the fact that Americans observe the day with an upbeat celebration of Mexican culture in general. Cinco de Mayo is sometimes mistaken for Mexico's Independence Day, which is actually on September 16. In Mexico, the holiday commemorates the Mexican army's victory over the French Empire in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Whatever side of the border you're on today, if you toast the table with a glass of tequila, take a moment to remember the azure fields where it all started.


许多庆祝五月五日(Cinco de Mayo)的活动都要归功于这些蓝色龙舌兰(又称龙舌兰蓝)的滚滚田野,这是制作真正龙舌兰酒所需的原料。蒸馏酒之于墨西哥,就像苏格兰威士忌之于苏格兰,日本清酒之于日本。龙舌兰酒也是深受喜爱的玛格丽塔鸡尾酒的基本成分,今天一定会有大量的玛格丽塔鸡尾酒供应。


龙舌兰酒与美国的Cinco de Mayo酒的联系可能要归功于这样一个事实:美国人在庆祝这一天时,通常都会对墨西哥文化进行乐观的庆祝。Cinco de Mayo有时被误认为是墨西哥的独立日,实际上是9月16日。在墨西哥,这个节日是为了纪念墨西哥军队在1862年普埃布拉战役中战胜法兰西帝国。无论你今天身处何方,如果你用一杯龙舌兰酒来敬酒,花点时间回忆一下这一切开始的蔚蓝田野。

瓦迪拉姆, 约旦 Wadi Rum, Jordan (© Thomas Coex/AFP via Getty Images)

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瓦迪拉姆, 约旦 Wadi Rum, Jordan (© Thomas Coex/AFP via Getty Images)

太阳落在月亮谷上 The sun sets on the Valley of the Moon

Star Wars Day

This otherworldly desert landscape in Jordan might look familiar to fans of the 'Star Wars' films, especially today on Star Wars Day, an annual celebration every May 4 of all things 'Star Wars.' Wadi Rum, aka Valley of the Moon, in southern Jordan, stood in for the moon Jedha in 'Rogue One,' and for the planet Pasaana in 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.' It is easy to see why this desolate landscape was chosen to mimic an alien world.

Wadi Rum ('wadi' means 'valley' in Arabic) is the largest valley in Jordan, cut through sandstone and granite formations. A UNESCO World Heritage protected area, Wadi Rum is singled out for its ancient rock carvings and archeological remains. Various human cultures have lived in this valley since prehistoric times.

Today, the valley is one of the most popular destinations in Jordan for tourists, particularly rock climbers and hikers. Summer temperatures routinely reach the 90s, but this being the desert, temperatures cool considerably at night. The Zalabieh tribe of Bedouins call the valley home. They act as guides for tourists and coordinate activities like camel rides, horseback rides, and camping. A major coastal city, Aqaba, is less than 40 miles away, so if you'd like to visit Wadi Rum, put away your hyperdrive—you don't have to leave the galaxy.


对于《星球大战》电影的粉丝来说,约旦这片超凡脱俗的沙漠景观可能看起来很熟悉,尤其是今天的《星球大战日》,每年5月4日都是《星球大战》的年度庆典约旦南部的Wadi Rum又名月球谷,在《侠盗一号》中代表月球杰达,在《星球大战:天行者的崛起》中代表行星帕萨纳很容易理解为什么选择这片荒凉的土地来模拟外星世界。

Wadi Rum(“Wadi”在阿拉伯语中的意思是“山谷”)是约旦最大的谷,穿过砂岩和岗岩地层。Wadi Rum是联合国教科文组织世界遗产保护区,因其古老的石刻和考古遗迹而被选中。从史前时代起,各种人类文化就生活在这个山谷里。

今天,河谷是约旦最受游客欢迎的目的地之一,尤其是攀岩者和徒步旅行者。夏季气温通常会达到90年代,但这里是沙漠,夜间气温会相当低。贝多因人的萨拉比耶部落称山谷为家。他们充当游客的向导,协调骑骆驼、骑马和露营等活动。一个主要的沿海城市亚喀巴离这里不到40英里,所以如果你想去Wadi Rum,把你的超速引擎收起来,你不必离开银河系。

土耳其棉花堡的石灰华梯田 Travertine terraces of Pamukkale, Turkey (© bybostanci/Getty Images)

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土耳其堡的石灰华梯田 Travertine terraces of Pamukkale, Turkey (© bybostanci/Getty Images)

天堂般的温 Heavenly hot springs

Pamukkale, Turkey

The stunning travertine terraces and hot pools of Pamukkale, Turkey, have dazzled visitors since at least the end of the 2nd century BCE and the founding of the Greco-Roman thermal spa of Hierapolis. Since then, people have enjoyed a relaxing soak in the 97-degree Fahrenheit water, claiming curative powers for many ailments.

It makes sense that Pamukkale is also known as the 'Cotton Palace,' in a nod to the fluffy-looking white formations that cover the hillside. That 'cotton' is travertine, a soft limestone that is formed over centuries as calcite-laden water drops from springs on a cliff high above. Here it's a stunning white, but travertine can be found in many different colors, ranging from gray to gold.

The terraces and the ancient ruins of Hierapolis are so unique that they were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. New restrictions to protect the pools include a cap on the number of bathers, so you may not be allowed to take a dip. But there's plenty to marvel at here. Walk around the ruins of the theater and necropolis, the ancient temples, and bath houses in Hierapolis. You'll be in good company: The hot springs and Hierapolis draw more than 2 million visitors a year, making them one of Turkey's most visited attractions.





盛开的金链花树和紫色葱属植物,加拿大温哥华范度森植物园 Laburnum (golden chain) trees and purple alliums in bloom at VanDusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver, Canada (© Greg Vaughn/Alamy)

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盛开的金链和紫色葱属植物,加拿大温哥华范度森植物园 Laburnum (golden chain) trees and purple alliums in bloom at VanDusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver, Canada (© Greg Vaughn/Alamy)

一张来自春天的快照 A snapshot of Spring

Laburnum trees and purple alliums

This snapshot of Spring is from VanDusen Botanical Garden located in Vancouver, British Columbia. Approximately 7,500 species and varieties of plants can be spotted here. Visitors are encouraged to take self-guided tours which are updated almost every month, as new plants take centre stage. Pictured here are the laburnum trees in full bloom. Despite requiring little maintenance, these trees can grow fast, surpassing close to 40 centimeters of growth each year. Given their gorgeous golden arch and walkways, laburnums easily draw visitors to VanDusen Botanical Gardens this time of the year. And if you miss their narrow period of full bloom, you could likely take a stroll through the Rhododendron Walk or take in the numerous flowers in vibrant colors spread across the garden.



巨型红杉的小萌芽,加利福尼亚州 A young giant sequoia sprouting out of an old log in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California (© Hutch Axilrod/Getty Images)

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巨型红杉的小萌芽,加利福尼亚州 A young giant sequoia sprouting out of an old log in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California (© Hutch Axilrod/Getty Images)

潜力惊人的萌芽 The sprout with amazing potential

Arbor Day

With a little love and support, this little sprout at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in California has a big future ahead of it. It has the potential to one day be the tallest tree on the planet, or at least close to it. Its 'big brother,' Hyperion, currently holds the record at 380 feet. They're giant sequoias, aka giant redwood trees. They often grow upwards of 300 feet tall and can live for thousands of years. They're heroes of nature, affecting the weather and climate, while housing and protecting other plants and animals. But all of this little sprout's potential is at risk because the giant sequoia is an endangered species. Fewer than 80,000 of them remain. That's why today is an important day for it and all trees.

That's right, today is Arbor Day, the day where we stop a moment to think about the trees (and hopefully even plant a few). The first American Arbor Day occurred 150 years ago when an estimated one million trees were planted in Nebraska in 1872. This year, America's Arbor Day Foundation is celebrating its 50th year of dedication to tree planting. They've planted over 350 million of them over the years, but the mission never ends. Trees are vital to the health of our planet, which means they're important for our own health as well. Why not do a little to make the future a better place and take a moment to nurture or plant a new tree today?