Hot on the heels of their new and improved Pillars of Creation image, NASA just published a new photo that appears to be the largest happy face in existence. The eyes alone are two different galaxies, SDSSCGB 8842.3 and SDSSCGB 8842.4, and the smile is an optical illusion caused by something called strong gravitational lensing, a phenomenon where the gravitational pull of an object is so powerful it causes spacetime to warp, effectively distorting the light around it. You can read more about it over on Hubble’s website. (via Hubble)
New view of the Pillars of Creation, visible light. NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team.
New view of the Pillars of Creation, visible light, detail. NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team.
New view of the Pillars of Creation, infrared light. NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team.
2015 v. 1995 ‘Pillars of Creation’ comparison. WFC3: NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team. WFPC2: NASA, ESA/Hubble, STScI, J. Hester and P. Scowen (Arizona State University)
One of the most iconic images ever produced by NASA is the “Pillars of Creation” photograph taken by Hubble Space Telescope in 1995. The photo depicts tall columns (called elephant trunks) of interstellar dust and gas within the Eagle Nebula about 6,500 light years from Earth. For the first time in 20 years, NASA revisited the Pillars of Creation using a new camera installed on Hubble back in 2009 capable of much higher resolutions. The new photo, including an infrared version, was published yesterday. From the NASA press release about the new image:
Now Hubble has revisited the famous pillars, capturing the multi-coloured glow of gas clouds, wispy tendrils of dark cosmic dust, and the rust-coloured elephants’ trunks with the newer Wide Field Camera 3, installed in 2009. The visible-light image builds on one of the most iconic astronomy images ever taken and provides astronomers with an even sharper and wider view.
In addition, NASA says that although the original photograph was titled Pillars of Creation, the newer imagery suggests the columns might also contain a fair amount of destruction:
Although the original image was dubbed the “Pillars of Creation”, this new image hints that they are also pillars of destruction. The dust and gas in these pillars is seared by intense radiation from the young stars forming within them, and eroded by strong winds from massive nearby stars. The ghostly bluish haze around the dense edges of the pillars in the visible-light view is material that is being heated by bright young stars and evaporating away.
Inspired by the pockmarked surface of the moon, Russian designer Constantin Bolimond developed this fun concept for a ceramic desktop lamp covered with corked “craters.” The intensity of the Armstrong Light Trap can be adjusted by opening or closing individual craters to reaveal the LED light inside. You can see more over on his Behance portfolio. (via Design Milk)
The team over at Zurich-based Schönstaub released this great series of rugs and bath towels adorned with various photos of nebulae. The the 100% cotton towels are available through their shop and the rugs appear to be made to order. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
One of six astronauts currently on board the International Space Station, geophysicist Alexander Gerst spends much of his free time staring out the window as the world zooms by 205 miles below, camera in-hand. Since arriving at the ISS in June of this year Gerst has taken tons of photographs that document hurricanes, floods, dust storms, and oil fields.
One of his favorite things to shoot are the shadows cast by clouds, something that appears surprisingly dramatic from space. Dense cloud formations can create long shadows that stretch for thousands of miles across the Earth’s surface as they eventually disappear into a black horizon. You can see new photos from Gerst daily on Twitter. (via Stellar)
In a novel intersection of fashion and science, New York-based Slow Factory is utilizing imagery from NASA to create lines of translucent scarves. Their most recent collection, Cities by Night, is a series scarves imprinted with imagery of London, New York, and Paris captured at night from satellites and aboard the International Space Station. A second collection, Floating in Space, includes several breathtaking photographs of various nebulae captured by the Hubble. Slow Factory was founded by designer Celine Semaan Vernon, a native of Beirut who now lives and works in New York City. Several of their pieces are now available in the Colossal Shop.
Last week Japanese botanic artist Makoto Azuma attempted to go where most artists only dream of going: to space. In a project titled Exbiotanica, last week Azuma and his crew traveled to Black Rock Desert outside Gerlach, Nevada. In the dead of night Azuma’s project began. The team launched two of Azuma’s artworks – a 50-year old pine suspended from a metal frame and an arrangement of flowers – into the stratosphere using a large helium balloon. The entire project was documented, revealing some surreal photographs of plants floating above planet earth. “The best thing about this project is that space is so foreign to most of us,” says John Powell of JP Aerospace. “So seeing a familiar object like a bouquet of flowers flying above Earth domesticates space, and the idea of traveling into it.” (syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)