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Photography Science

Amazing Solar Flare Eruptions Captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory

June 30, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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Credit: NASA SDO

This amazing composite image taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (Little SDO) shows a series of significant solar eruptions that occurred over a period of three days back in January of 2013. The photo was created using three wavelengths of light that have been colorized in red, green, and blue to better show the dynamics of each eruption. You can read more about solar scientist Nathalia Alzate’s findings regarding the event over on this Facebook post. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 



Photography

A Multi-Camera 360° Panoramic Timelapse of the Stars by Vincent Brady

June 20, 2014

Christopher Jobson

Michigan-based photographer Vincent Brady uses an elaborate 4-camera rig and lots of software to capture what he calls Planetary Panoramas. These are somewhat similar to the tiny planet videos we’ve seen the last few months, but the results are quite a bit more dramatic. He shares about his technique:

While experimenting with different photography tricks and techniques back in 2012, I was shooting 360 degree panoramas in the daytime and long exposures of the stars streaking in the sky at night. It suddenly became clear that the potential to combine the two techniques could be a trip! Since the Earth is rotating at a steady 1,040 mph I created a custom rig of 4 cameras with fisheye lenses to capture the entire night-sky in motion. Thus the images show the stars rotating around the north star as well as the effect of the southern pole as well and a 360 degree panorama of the scene on Earth. Each camera is doing nonstop long exposures, typically about 1 minute consecutively for the life of the camera battery. Usually about 3 hours. I then made a script to stitch all the thousands of these panoramas into this time-lapse.

You can learn more about how Brady makes these and see more of his photography over on his website. (via Colossal Submissions)

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Photography

The Hubble Telescope Photographs Messier 15, One of the Densest Clusters of Stars Ever Discovered

November 19, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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This recently released photograph from the Hubble Telescope captures the spectacular glory of Messier 15 located about 35,000 light-years away. It might be hard to believe, but if you were to look up in the sky and locate the constellation Pegasus, this entire cluster of stars is located inside of it. It is one of the densest clusters of stars ever discovered. Via the ESA:

Both very hot blue stars and cooler golden stars can be seen swarming together in the image, becoming more concentrated towards the cluster’s bright centre. Messier 15 is one of the densest globular clusters known, with most of its mass concentrated at its core. As well as stars, Messier 15 was the first cluster known to host a planetary nebula, and it has been found to have a rare type of black hole at its centre.

Growing up in the Texas hill country, I lived next door to an astronomy buff from the the Austin Astronomical Society named Larry Forrest. Every couple of months Larry would have a thing called a star party and all these other astronomy people would show up with giant pickup trucks hauling telescopes mounted on trailers. Sometimes the group would start drinking as the sun went down and by the time the first stars started twinkling they had a pretty good buzz going. It was a loud, drunken astronomy night, and it was amazing.

On a few occasions I had the opportunity to stay up late and head over to Larry’s place and climb inside this huge observatory he’d built that housed the largest telescope I’ve ever had the chance of looking through. I remember seeing the rings of Saturn for the first time, and seeing details of the moon so vivid it felt like I could touch it. There are few things that put life in perspective as astronomy can. It was a precious early gift and the sole reason you see occasional posts like these here on Colossal. Unfortunately I learned that Larry died last year, and seeing this image reminded of my first peek inside his telescope, and the near instant realization of how vast the universe really is. Shine on Larry. (via Astronomy Picture of the Day)

 

 



Photography

NASA Releases First Ever Photograph of Saturn, Venus, Mars and Earth

November 13, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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You might remember earlier this summer when NASA released a striking image taken by the Cassini spacecraft of Earth as it appears from the dark side of Saturn. Yesterday the space agency wowed again with the first ever photograph of Saturn, Mars, Venus, and Earth all in the same shot. The image spans about 404,880 miles (651,591 kilometers) across and is made from 141 wide-angle photos taken by Cassini. You can learn more about the image over on JPL’s site where you can even download some wallpapers. (via PetaPixel)

 

 



Science

Falling from Space: Felix Baumgartner’s Leap from 128,000 Feet

October 16, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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It’s already been a year since daredevil, stuntman and BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner leapt out of a hot air balloon some 24 miles off the ground plummeted at speeds surpassing Mach 1 (761.2 mph or 1225 km/h) back to Earth. The team over at Redbull Stratos finally released footage from the stunt, capturing the view from multiple angles. Ridiculous. (via kottke)

 

 



Science

Mauna Kea Heavens Timelapse or Three Minutes of Telescopes Shooting Lasers into Space

October 9, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Shot over a period of three nights in April of this year, this timelapse from Sean Goebel shows the myriad telescopes at the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The clear view at 14,000 feet is the premiere location for astronomy in the Northern Hemisphere. The lasers you see are called laser guide stars and they help astronomers correct the atmospheric distortion of light by creating an artificial “star” to use as a reference point. (via Coudal)

 

 



Photography

Observing the Earth: Incredible Satellite Photos of Earth from the European Space Agency

October 7, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Namib Desert / October 5, 2013

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Ganges’ dazzling delta / July 31, 2009

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Scandinavian snows / February 1, 2013

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Mississippi River Delta / May 25, 2012

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Clearwater Lakes, Canada / May 17, 2013

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Peruvian landscape / July 4, 2013

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Plentiful plankton / September 14, 2009

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Swirling cloud art in the Atlantic Ocean / June 11, 2010

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Agricultural crops in Aragon and Catalonia / November 26, 2010

Though I don’t have a homepage set, the first page in my daily rounds is always the Astronomy Picture of the Day (site currently down), a website launched by NASA and the Michigan Technological University way back in 1995, a nearly continuous publication run of 18 years. Unfortunately due some minor, uhm, budget cuts in the U.S. government, all NASA websites are currently down due to a crushing 97% cut in workforce, including the humble Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Luckily there’s at least one space agency still publishing photos of space (and space from Earth), the European Space Agency. The ESA has an incredible Observing the Earth archive that’s updated every week and each satelitte image is usually accompanied by a brief essay to explain a bit about what you’re looking at. Collected here are some of my favorite images from the last few years taken with too many different satellites to mention, and you can search photos back through 2005 here.