This afternoon/evening, North Americans will be treated to a partial solar eclipse, making for some great photography opportunities from Chicago to LA and points northward (coverages as high as ~60% in the Northwestern US and Canada) -- even if there are some clouds! Not sure how to photograph an eclipse safely? Here are some detailed guides. [more inside]
Between 2002 and 2006, the Hubble telescope took photos of an explosion coming from a red variable star in the constellation Monoceros, about 20,000 light years from the Sun. This is a time-lapse video of those photos.
Redditor bubbleweed took a five and half hour time-lapse of Jupiter, and made this gif to show Jupiter from Io's frame of reference [WARNING: 4.6mb GIF | alternate: 60kb HTML5 video]. But why simply photograph Jupiter, when you can take the time to really know the planet and draw it, repeatedly, as Frédéric Burgeot has done. His work included a flat texture map* which Pascal Chauvet turned into an animated version of Jupiter (Vimeo). [more inside]
Three days prior to its planned impact on a lunar mountain, mission controllers activated the camera aboard one of NASA's GRAIL twins to take some final photos from lunar orbit. The result is some of the best footage of the moon's surface captured so far. [more inside]
January 13, 2013 marks the 125th anniversary of the National Geographic Society. The Magazine is celebrating by taking a yearlong look at the past and future of exploration. [more inside]
eXtreme Deep Field (1.4 MB JPG) is the deepest-ever view of the universe - a new assemblage of 10 years of Hubble Space Telescope photographs focused on a small area at the center of the original Ultra Deep Field. With a cumulative exposure time of 2 million seconds, XDF shows approximately 5,500 galaxies - some of them 10 billion times too faint to be seen with the naked eye.
Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea. Desolation and the Sublime on a Distant Planet. Mars-inspired artwork, commisioned by NASA, by Kahn & Selesnick (previously). [Via]
Astronomer’s Paradise - A beautiful time-lapse video of Paranal Observatory in action.
A lovely time-lapse of the Aurora Australis - The striking red color is the result of charged particles from the sun exciting oxygen atoms high in the atmosphere. [more inside]
"As noted elsewhere, more men have walked on the moon than have successfully photographed the analemma." (details) [more inside]
Astronomy Photographer of the Year The Royal Observatory has announced the Astronomy Photographers of the Year for 2011. A BBC slideshow talks you through the category winners, casting more light on the judges decisions. [more inside]
The Photopic Sky Survey is a 5,000 megapixel, 360 degree panorama of the entire night sky stitched together from 37,440 exposures. (via)
El Tiede: The Mountain. A timelapse of shots taken from the El Tiede mountain, known for being an excellent site for astrological observations. Includes a timelapse of the Milky Way, as seen through a sandstorm coming off from the Sahara Desert. (SLYT)
Amateur astronomer Martin Lewis used a home-made telescope and digital camera to take a picture of the International Space Station, and caught NASA astronaut Steve Bowen on a spacewalk.
The most detailed photo of the surface of the sun looks like this. It was taken by the team at CA's Big Bear Solar Observatory. They have some other neat images of our nearest star at their website. [more inside]
This may just be the most peaceful, beautiful 5-1/2 minutes of your entire day: An audio slideshow look at some of the winning images, guided by one of the judges, of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich's 2010 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. Interested in "giving it a go"? Here are some guides to photographing different aspects of the night sky.
1,512 high-resolution images of Mars from the viewpoint of an airplane passenger. Previous photos: 1 2 3
"The arc of the Milky Way seen from a truly dark location is part of our planet's natural heritage," said Connie Walker, and astronomer from the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, Arizona. Yet "more than one fifth of the world population, two thirds of the U.S. population and one half of the European Union population have already lost naked eye visibility of the Milky Way." In these areas, people are effectively living in perennial moonlight. They rarely realize it because they still experience the sky to be brighter under a full moon than under new moon conditions. "Reducing the number of lights on at night could help conserve energy, protect wildlife and benefit human health," astronomer Malcolm Smith of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. One study found an increased risk of breast cancer for women living in areas with the most light pollution (abstract). Some communities are embracing their dark skies, such as the New Zealand community of Tekapo, possibly home to first "Starlight Reserve," waiting on UNESCO's official approval. Not sure where to look in the vast night sky? Follow some guidelines, or check the view in Chile, Queensland, Australia, or Texas.
Five years and 800,000 images went into producing a 4 gigapixel mosaic image of the galactic plane, which when printed out is 180 feet long. But it has been made browser-sized by GLIMPSE, the Galactic Legacy Infrared Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire, the research group which, along with MIPSGAL, created the image: A Glimpse of the Milky Way.
Time lapse animations of planets and satellites. See what an amateur digital astrophotographer could do a decade ago. This is what the animated gif was designed to do.
It's like Google Maps...for space. Wikisky is a draggable, zoomable, web-based star map. And if you click on a star or other object, it brings up a page with all the information you could want on it, including recent articles and astrophotos that contain that object. And it does lots more. Go explore.
"Naked Eye" Comet Machholz (binoculars recommended) nears maximum brightness in the coming days ( starchart here and here). How to photograph a comet and other objects. The story of its discovery (his 10th). Comet hunters are an interesting breed. Now you can discover comets from your 'puter with SOHO imagery. If stargazing interests you, you may also like the Wunderground astronomy web application (based on U.S. zip codes).
Chasing Venus Transits of Venus occur every 130 years or so when Venus can be observed passing across the face of the sun. Chasing Venus is an online exhibition by Smithsonian Institution Libraries that tells the story of how the transit has been observed since the 17th century, with early observations in England, illustrated accounts of expeditions by 18th century astronomers to various parts of the world, and early uses of photography to record observations in the 19th century. Includes links to animations of transits reconstructed from Victorian photographs, and details of a lecture series on Thursdays in April and May (first one April 8). The first transit since 1882 is this year.
The first images from the Spitzer Space Telescope, formerly known as the Space Infrared Telescope Facility and renamed after astrophysicist Lyman Spitzer, Jr., were released on Thursday. Launched on August 25, it obtains images by detecting the infrared energy radiated by objects in space, and it will drift behind the Earth as the planet orbits the sun.
The Best of Hubble Its mission will end in 2010. Four years later it will re-enter the atmosphere and burn up. Many astronomers are calling for Hubble to be refurbished and its mission extended to 2020. Here are some of it's best pictures.
Breathtaking Hubble picture of the Sombrero Galaxy (also identified as M104). The Hubble Heritage team took the original images during May and June of this year using the Advanced Camera for Surveys and multiple color filters. They then stitched 6 images together to make the final composite image.
Pale Blue Dot: The Earth and Moon as photographed from Mars. Just in case you needed a bit of perspective.
The Two Micron All Sky Survey at IPAC has been completed after 4 years and 5 million images. Detailed infrared images have been mapped into beautiful false color images. Be sure to check out the 2MASS home page at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. So, what's your favorite astronomy related site or image? (via CNN)
Coolest sun picture ever - sunspot closeup... The Swedish Institute for Solar Physics web site has some other cool pictures. (As an aside, I wonder what equivalent shutter speed, aperture, and focal length would be?)
A very well designed site on the Analemma. Don't be scared off by the math, as there are excellent diagrams and quicktime movies on this difficult to visualize phenomena. Difficult, but not impossible, to photograph (probably less than 10 photos are in existence) Ulrich Bienert came close, and has a gallery and some tips if you're so inclined.
Reflections on a Mote of Dust "We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam." Carl Sagan "Pale Blue Dot"
The World at Night. This amazing image (warning 500K) is actually a composite of hundreds of pictures made by the orbiting DMSP satellites over regions of the world at night. You can clearly see the Nile river, Hong Kong, Hawaii and probably, if you look close enough, the town you are in right now. From Astronomy Picture of the Day
Putting it all in perspective -- this is one of my daily links, reminding me that there is always a bigger picture to consider.
A striking photo of The Sigma Orionis star cluster where the astronomers have found 18 "planets" which are not orbiting around any central star. On the same note, you may want to visit the new planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. My mother was not impressed by the New Hayden Planetarium when she visited NY this summer. I thought the Rose Center was a real life version of the Hawking book, The Illustrated A Brief History of Time. The book was a much better experience.
This reminded me of one of the stupidest things I've ever seen. Once on vacation in Eastern Oregon, there was a total eclipse of the moon, just like this one. And some people nearby were taking photographs of it. Flash photographs. The round-trip time to the moon at the speed of light is 3 seconds and I wouldn't even want to calculate the attenuation caused by 320,000 miles of range. Sometimes it seems as if some people are completely and totally clueless about what they're doing.