Category: Images


Astrophotography

Ever wanted to take your own photos of the night sky but never knew how. This video gives a very brief explaination of what is involved to get started in this exciting hobby. Just be aware that there is a huge difference in skill level from where he starts (ie a camera on a tripod) to where he finishes. It is very easy to use a camera on a tripod. It takes a lot more determination and money to take good photos like the ones towards the end of this video.

Most Distant Galaxy Found to Date

Using the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and the Very Large Telescope (VLT) scientists have found a galaxy that is 13.1 billion light years away. To date this is the most distant galaxy found. Since the light has taken 13.1 biliion years to reach us we are seeing how the galaxy was when the Universe was only 600 million years old. Not only is that impressive but it tells us the galaxies had formed by that time placing restrains models for the formation of the Universe.

The image below shows the location of the galaxy on the Ultra-Deep Field image taken by the HST in 2009. I posted the full version of this image on the 4th of October. The post is called Hubble Ultra Deep Field.

While this is a very deep image deeper images should be generated from the soon to be launched James Webb Space Telescope. It is hoped that this telescope will find the very first formed galaxies in the universe

Hubble Ultra Deep Field

Ever felt insignificant? If you have an understanding of what is presented in this image you should. Nearly every object in this image is a galaxy containing millions and in most cases billions of stars. The image is called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field and was taken in 1995 and 1998.

The objects in this image are extremely dim and not detectable by ground-based telescopes. Even the Hubble Space Telescope cameras had to collect light over 278 hours to produce this image. There are 10,000 galaxies in the image. Using this image it has been estimated that there are 130 billion galaxies in the Universe at least as bright as the dimmest galaxy in the image.

For a larger version click the image. For a very large version (60MB) see the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image.

September Equinox 2010

Today every point on Earth has a day and night of very nearly 12 hours for each. This is called an equinox and since this one occurs in September every year it is called the September Equinox. It is also called the Autumnal Equinox in the northern hemisphere as it marks the onset of Autumn.

Only one other equinox occurs every year and it occurs in March. Obviously this is called the March equinox. It is also referred to as the Vernal Equinox and in the northern hemisphere marks the start of spring.

Equinoxes occur when the tilt of the Earth’s of rotation is at a right angle to the line connection the Earth and Sun. This can only occur twice in a single orbit of the Earth around the Sun (ie one year). At the time of each equinox the Sun lies at the intersection of the plane containing the Earth and Sun and the plane defining the Earth’s Equator.

In the figure on the right the blue plane is defined by the Earth’s equator. The yellow plane is the plane containing the earth and Sun (the line the Sun appears to follow is called the ecliptic). The position of the Sun at an equinox is marked as Autumnal and Vernal Equinoxes on the figure. Today the Sun is at the pointed marked as Autumnal Equinox.

Hubble’s Pillars of Creation

The Pillars of Creation is one of Hubble’s most famous images. I don’t think any astronomy site collecting information from various sources is complete without this image. It is very awe inspiring. I will add more information about what is in this image soon.

Source: HubbleSite

This is an image of the Earth and Moon from a distance of 138 million kilometers (114 million miles) by the MESSENGER spacecraft. They are located in the bottom left of the photograph.

Source: MESSENGER

Today’s APOD: Galactic Center

While I will not be posting every APOD I do wish to post the ones that I find appealing. This one also relates to the recent post of the all sky Milky Way.

This image concentrates on the Milky Way towards the galactic centre. Much of the galactic center is obscured by the dark lanes visible in this image. These lanes are present due to great clouds of gas and dust being located between us and the galactic centre. These clouds form dark nebulae. When gas and dust are located near a large star emission nebulae form. There are many emission nebulae present in this image.

The constellations visible in this image include Sagittarius, Libra, Scorpius, Scutum, and Ophiuchus. Emission nebulae visible include M8, M16 and M20. An example of a dark nebula in this image is the Pipe Nebula. There are numerous open clusters visible on the galactic plan and the globular M22 at a slight angle to the galactic plane.

For an anotated version of this image see the APOD website. Click the image below for a larger version.

Source: The Annotated Galactic Center

Io’s Surface: Under Construction

Jupiter’s moon Io is the most geologically active body in the solar system. All the colouring visible in this image is the result of eruptions on this small moon. The colour is due to the presence of sulfur compounds.

It is thought that there could be as many as 300 active volcanoes on Io. It is estimated that these volcanoes eject enough material to cover the moons surface to a depth of 1 metre every century.

Prior to the flyby of Voyager 1 in 1979 it was thought that this moon would be a dead body with ancient cratering. We now know that Jupiter’s gravity has a great influence on Io. As the moon orbits it is slightly influenced by the planets other moons which does not allow the moon to become tidally looked with the planet. As a result the planet is subjected to tidal forces that cause heating in the moon’s interior. This drives the volcanism observed on Io.

Source: Astronomy Picture of the Day

All-Sky Milky Way Panorama

This is a stunning image of the Milky Way! The image takes in the sky if you could temporarily remove the Earth or was at a good distance away from our planet. The image is the result of taking 3000 images of the night sky and stitching them together. Many features of the night sky that are too dim for the human eye to detect are represented in the image. Particularly evident are the dark regions associated with gas and dust in the plane of the Milky Way. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are also distictive in the image.

If you are interested in the details of how this image was produced there is a paper available on the All-Sky Milky Way Panorama 2.0 website. The website also has a zoomable image version of the map.

Source: Astronomy Picture of the Day; Axel Mellinger

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