Orbital View: Ukraine's White Whale

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

There’s something fishy about this photo, posted by Russian Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev:

A photo posted by Oleg Artemyev (@olegmks) on

The caption identifies this whale-like formation as the Tendra Spit, located in the Black Sea. Speaking of whales, a new study suggests that the southern right whale population is still struggling to recover from the sins of generations past. From The Guardian:

A population of southern right whales that was hunted to the brink of extinction by the start of the 20th century has only recovered to 12% of its original population size and will take at least six decades to recover fully, new research suggests. By that time, the population is likely to be be impacted by climate change. [...] In the 19th century, armed with just hand-held harpoons and sailing ships, hunters killed almost every New Zealand southern right whale, leaving just 15 to 20 mature females and about 100 whales in total.

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