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Art

A Series of Meticulously Carved Panels Combine Layers of Color to Make Tugboat Printshop’s ‘River’ Woodcut

December 30, 2022

Kate Mothes

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

All images © Tugboat Printshop

Woodland creatures peek out from behind tree trunks, and a stream of water rushes through a dense, forested landscape in Valerie Lueth’s latest woodcut for Tugboat Printshop (previously). “River” uses four intricately carved panels layered into a composition of overlapping, vivid color. Currently a work in progress and nearing completion, the detailed scene features intricate foliage and a smattering of stars throughout the sky and landscape.

To create the nocturnal setting, Lueth began by meticulously carving the surface of a “key block” using knives and gouging tools to create an overview of the entire composition. She then transferred the full scene to three additional panels in gray ink and filled in sections with marker to delineate which areas should be carved and where different pigments would be applied. Printed in succession, each block will provide a puzzle-like piece of the final print.

“River” is available for pre-order on the Tugboat Printshop website, and you can follow more updates on Instagram.

 

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

Two process images of making an intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

 

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

 

 

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Photography Science

The ‘Pillars of Creation’ Glow in Remarkable Detail in a Groundbreaking Image from NASA’s James Webb Telescope

December 19, 2022

Kate Mothes

A photograph taken by the James Webb Space Telescope of the "Pillars of Creation."

“Pillars of Creation.” All images courtesy of NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

In a small region within the vast Eagle Nebula—a 6,500 light-year journey from our solar system in the constellation Serpens—the iconic “Pillars of Creation” appear in a ghostly formation. Made of cool hydrogen gas and dust, these incubators for new stars are dense celestial structures that have survived longer than their surroundings. Ultraviolet light from incredibly hot newborn stars gradually erodes the surrounding space and illuminates the ethereal surfaces of the pillars and the streams of gas they emit.

Since July, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has released numerous photographs of the cosmos in unprecedented detail. To process this image, scientists combined captures taken with the telescope’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), which brought different elements into focus. Near-infrared light emphasizes the stars, including thousands of newly-formed orange spheres that hover around the columns. The saturated hues around the interstellar formations are visible thanks to the mid-infrared contribution, which highlights the diffused orange dust around the top, deep indigo of the densest regions, and bright neutral color of the pillars. Lava-red spots on the upper parts of the spires contain young, embedded stars that will continue to form for millions of years.

See the full 47.59-megapixel photograph on the James Webb website. (via PetaPixel)

 

A detail of photograph taken by the James Webb Space Telescope of the "Pillars of Creation."

A detail of a photograph taken by the James Webb Space Telescope of the "Pillars of Creation."

 

 



Photography Science

NASA’s James Webb Telescope Captures an Astounding Photo of the Gaseous Pillars of Creation

October 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI; Joseph DePasquale (STScI), Anton M. Koekemoer (STScI), Alyssa Pagan (STScI), shared with permission

Back in 1995, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope documented the now iconic Pillars of Creation, a photo of a celestial area known for its staggering number of star formations. That initial image offered an illuminating glimpse of the interstellar stone-like columns made of gas and dust, although a composite recently released from the James Webb Space Telescope uses near-infrared light to highlight the region in even more detail.

This new 122-megapixel photo features a deep-blue expanse studded with light, and the pillars themselves appear less opaque than in the earlier shot. When cropped, the new image shows the Eagle Nebula, located 6,500 light-years away. The bright red fiery orbs apparent from this view are new stars, which are formed “when knots with sufficient mass form within the pillars of gas and dust… begin to collapse under their own gravity (and) slowly heat up.”

 

Left: Pillars of Creation captured via Hubble. Right: Pillars of Creation captured via James Webb

Some of the incandescent bodies still in the early stages of life also produce undulating, lava-like ejections, which NASA describes:

Young stars periodically shoot out supersonic jets that collide with clouds of material, like these thick pillars. This sometimes also results in bow shocks, which can form wavy patterns like a boat does as it moves through water. The crimson glow comes from the energetic hydrogen molecules that result from jets and shocks. This is evident in the second and third pillars from the top–the NIRCam image is practically pulsing with their activity. These young stars are estimated to be only a few hundred thousand years old.

Researchers say the new photo will allow more accurate counts of new formations and their development.

 

 

 



Photography

Brilliant Star Trails Sweep Above a Fierce Tangle of Lightning in a Striking Photo

September 26, 2022

Grace Ebert

Image © Marc Sellés Llimós, shared with permission

Back in June, Marc Sellés Llimós photographed multiple instances of illumination in a single nighttime sky. From the village of Manlleu, Osona, where he lives and works, Sellés Llimós captured a fierce thunderstorm as it raged on the other side of the Serra de Bellmunt mountain in Carcassonne, France. The 380-image composite shows a brilliant tangle of lightning below sweeping star trails, produced with a slow, six-minute exposure. According to NASA, which featured the work as one of its astronomy photos of the day, the trails reflect the Earth’s daily rotation around its axis, and the extent of their curvatures represents the distance from the north pole.

Head to Instagram to purchase a print and to see an archive of Sellés Llimós’s photos.  (via Peta Pixel)

 

 



Photography

A Rare Glimpse of Comet Leonard’s Last Moments Wins the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Contest

September 16, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Disconnection Event” © Gerald Rhemann, Tivoli Southern Sky Guest Farm, Khomas, Namibia, December 25, 2021. All images © Astronomy Photographer of the Year, shared with permission

The brilliant Comet Leonard put on a mesmerizing performance late last year when it streaked across the sky on Christmas Day. Expelled from the solar system shortly after, the celestial matter captivated photographers around the world during its brief stint of visibility, including Gerald Rhemann who captured the illuminated body as its gas tail disconnected from its nucleus and was swept away by solar wind. The incredibly rare and brief event also garnered Rhemann the top prize in this year’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest.

Hosted by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the 14th-annual competition received more than 3,000 entries from 67 countries. This year’s collection includes a glowing, avian-like aurora over Murmansk Oblast and the International Space Station as it flies over the Apollo 11 moon-landing site—the latter was taken by Andrew McCarthy, whose galactic photos have been featured multiple times on Colossal.

Explore all of the winning images on the contest’s site, and if you’re in London, stop by the National Maritime Museum to see the photos in person through August 13, 2023.

 

“Winged Aurora” © Alexander Stepanenko, Murmansk, Murmansk Oblast, Russia, January 15, 2022

“Stabbing Into the Stars” © Zihui Hu, Nyingchi, Tibet, China, December 24, 2021

“Back to the Spaceship” © Mihail Minkov, Buzludzha, Balkan Mountains, Stara Zagora Province, Bulgaria, August 12, 2021

“The Night Highway” © Filip Hrebenda, Stokksnes Peninsula, Iceland, April 11, 2021

“Moon: Big Mosaic” © Andrea Vanoni, Porto Mantovano, Lombardy, Italy, January 19, 2021

“The International Space Station Transiting Tranquility Base” © Andrew McCarthy, Florence, Arizona, USA, January 19, 2022

“In the Embrace of a Green Lady” © Filip Hrebenda, Hvalnes, Iceland, April 10, 2021

 

 



Design

Cosmic Cliffs Infinite Galaxy Puzzle Features New Imagery from the James Webb Space Telescope

July 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

All photos courtesy Nervous System, shared with permission

This week, the first images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope amazed and daunted us with their inordinately deep looks at the cosmos, particularly the shot of the glimmering star-forming region known as the “Cosmic Cliffs” of the Carina Nebula. The team over at the Catskills-based studio Nervous System translated this galactic masterpiece into a new, similarly expansive infinity puzzle intended to be tiled continuously, with no predetermined shape, start, or end. Similar to its other designs, this iteration includes four whimsy cuts in the shape of an astronaut, a shooting star, a satellite, and the gold mirrors of the groundbreaking telescope itself. Try your hand at puzzling together distant galaxies by picking up the 264-piece jigsaw from the Nervous System shop.