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Photography Science

A Million Dazzling Stars Are Revealed in a New Infrared Photograph of the Carina Nebula

September 17, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

A new photograph of the Carina Nebula, a complex group of bright and dark nebulae in the constellation Carina, has just been released by the European Southern Observatory. The original image is 140 megapixels, which clocks in as a 344MB download (don’t try this at home, kids) and contains about one million stars.

As explained by astronomer and science communicator Phil Plait, “The colors you see here are not what you’d see with your eye, since it’s all infrared. What’s shown as blue is actually 0.88 microns, or a wavelength just outside what your eye can see. Green is really 1.25 microns and red is 2.15, so both are well into the near-infrared. Even in the infrared, a lot of gas and dust still are visible. That’s because there’s a whole bunch of it here. And it’s not just randomly strewn around; patterns are there when you look for them.”

Plait continues on to clarify that the purpose of such an impressive photo isn’t just for eye candy: astronomers use such images to conduct star censuses. Below are two details of the photo, where you can get a better sense of the extreme density of stars captured in the massive image. (via Kottke)

 

 



Animation Science

The Milky Way’s Glimmering Core Captured in a Timelapse Video by Adrien Mauduit

September 7, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

When not working for a NASA-funded citizen-science project, Adrien Mauduit travels the world seeking out remote places to create photographs and films of the night sky. To the naked eye, the galaxies around us appear as single points of light; Mauduit’s “astro-lapse” visuals showcase the dimensionality of the universe through specialized photo and video equipment. His most recent video, Galaxies Volume III, is the third in the astro-lapse series and focuses on the core of the Milky Way.

Mauduit explains in a statement about the project that from a young age he has been interested in  the natural wonders of the environment, and by “showing the true beauty of the universe I could contribute in my own limited way to bringing the real dark skies to the hectic and light polluted urban jungle.” The resulting film includes dramatic shots of shooting stars, silhouetted mountains, and rushing clouds foregrounding the shimmering night sky. You can see more of Mauduit’s work on Vimeo and Instagram. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)

 

 

 



Science

A Short Film Captures the Reactions of LA Residents to Viewing the Moon Through a Traveling Telescope

March 13, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Directors Alex Gorosh and Wylie Overstreet have released another film about the moon after their previous educational short outlining why the 2017 eclipse should not be missed. A New View of The Moon features Overstreet parking his telescope at the cross-section of various LA sidewalks to give spontaneous glimpses of the moon to interested passersby.

Over the course of 18 months the pair brought the telescope to as many diverse locations across the city as possible, making sure not to focus on any specific neighborhood or landmark. Despite the range of individuals that snuck a peek at the orbiting astronomical body, each had the same reaction— complete awe.

“To be able to see it up close and feel like you could almost reach out and touch it, that’s what makes it real to us,” said Overstreet in the short film. “It makes you realize that we are all on this small little planet, and we all have the same reaction to the universe we live in. I think there is something special about that, something unifying. It’s a great reminder that we should look up more often.”

If you are interested in getting your own look at the moon, check your local library. Many across the US and UK rent out telescopes free of charge. For more videos by Gorosh (including this piece where he attempts to view every single piece of art in London in one day) check out his website. You can also view more short films by Overstreet on his website.

 

 



Illustration

Stippled Black and White Illustrations of Star-Packed Galaxies by Petra Kostova

February 27, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Copenhagen-based graphic designer and illustrator Petra Kostova of Pet & Dot creates dazzling galaxies composed of millions of stippled dots. To produce her concentrated star systems and cloudy nebulas she uses technical pens (either rOtring Rapidograph or Isograph) to draw on black and white paper. Due to the limitations of her color scheme, each work is completely formed through the intensity of her chosen dots—a meditative process which can often take her several weeks or months to complete.

Kostova also produces handmade prints created by a technique called Photogravure, which accurately reproduces her stippled detail. You can find these, and her original drawings, on her website and Instagram.

 

 



Amazing Photography Science

A Remarkable Timelapse of the SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Launch

December 26, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Last Friday SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket that illuminated the sky above Southern California in a spectacularly unusual way, leaving many unsuspecting people to wonder if they were witnessing a comet, an attack, or the end of days. SpaceX founder Elon Musk acknowledged the bizzare atmospheric effect but didn’t help clarify things much.

Photographer Jesse Watson was in nearby Yuma, Arizona to film a timelapse of the launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Having never filmed a rocket before he wasn’t sure quite what to expect, but this 40 seconds of footage was well worth the effort. PetaPixel has some additional details about how Watson managed to get the shot.

 

 



Photography Science

Up-Close Images of Jupiter Reveal an Impressionistic Landscape of Swirling Gases

December 12, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Juno is NASA’s project focused on bringing a deeper understanding to Jupiter and the processes that might have governed our solar system’s creation. The spacecraft was launched in 2011 to explore several facets of the planet’s composition, including its atmosphere, magnetic force field, and dense cloud coverage.

This series of close-up photographs was taken by Juno within the last year, and is a dazzling diverse display of the planet’s gaseous composition. Swirling blue and brown clouds appear like impressionist paint strokes across Jupiter’s atmospheric surface, a spectacle which is constantly shifting into new optically charged formations.

You can see more images taken with Juno’s high-tech cameras on NASA’s website, and submit your own processed images from Juno’s raw image files on Mission Juno. (via Twisted Sifter)

     

 

 



Design

A New Book Filled With Interactive Paper Pop-up Gadgets by Kelli Anderson

October 10, 2017

Laura Staugaitis

Kelli Anderson, a self-described artist/designer and tinkerer has just released her long-awaited book, This Book is a Planetarium. Anderson, who is based in Brooklyn, works in a variety of digital and analog media but is best known for her use of paper in the form of educational apps and animations, as well as interactive toolsThis Book is a Planetarium features several different paper gadgets designed by Anderson, all of which are fully functional.

From the namesake planetarium to a musical instrument, message decoder, and spiralgraph, Anderson also includes readers in the sense of wonderment by offering detailed explanations of how each gadget works. In choosing to compile these tools into a book format, Anderson told Colossal, “Pop-up books are fairly unique among analog experiences in that they engage the reader with both text and experience—and can therefore simultaneously demonstrate and explain a concept. My intention was to create a memorable way to learn foundational physics concepts—especially for artists, children, and people who think with their hands more than they think in numbers.”

As a designer who works with one hand in the digital world and one hand in the tactile world, Anderson described to Colossal a flurry of literal back-and-forth between paper and glue and equations and schematics. Most gadgets started as rough physical prototypes followed by researching mathematical refinements to make them work. In deciding which tools made the cut for the book, the designer created 25 prototypes and evaluated them by the criteria of pop-up-aesthetics, educational value, production feasibility, ease-of-use for the user, and utility. Anderson describes her motivation for the book:

I’m really interested in learning about how the world works through my projects—whether it is the physical world or the world of aesthetic signs and signifiers. The lo-fi devices in the book may be less functional than their digital counterparts, but they reveal structural forces in our world that are otherwise hard to see in isolation. At their fundamental core, digital experiences are always made of rules built by humans. With the book, I hope that I can prove that possibility hides in even the most mundane materials—and that you do not need a specialized education, math genius, or sophisticated equipment to tap into it.

This Book is a Planetarium is available in The Colossal Shop.