Posts Tagged ‘astronomy’

The Pale Blue Dot: A Portrait of Earth Shot From More Than 4 Billion Miles Away

1990 Pale_Blue_Dot NASA

Seeing as the Voyager-1 spacecraft has been in the news recently, here’s the story of a very special photograph that it took 23 years ago known as “The Pale Blue Dot”.

In 1990, 13 years after Voyager-1 left Earth on its mission to visit two of the gas giants and their moons of our solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, one last command was sent to the spacecraft as suggested by Carl Sagan who was then part of the Voyager-1‘s imaging team. That instruction was to turn back around and take one last photo of our solar system before continuing on its epic journey away from the Sun and the planets.
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Near-Earth Asteroid 2012 DA14 Captured in a Gorgeous Time-lapse Video

On Friday, February 15th, 2013, near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14 did a flyby of our planet — the closest approach ever of an object of its size (30 meters in diameter). Photographer Colin Legg of Western Australia decided to capture the close pass in a time-lapse video, and set up his cameras after midnight around 220 miles east of Perth.

He ended up capturing the amazing video above, while captures a shooting star burning a trail across the sky while DA14 slowly travels through the shot. The video also shows how much random stuff in the sky you can see if you have eyes/cameras sensitive enough to see it.
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Amazing Animated GIFs Capture Nebulae in 3D Using Artificial Parallax

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Parallax 3D images use two photos captured from slightly different vantage point to create the appearance of depth. In astrophotography, however, the distance between human cameras and distance objects are so great that real parallax generally cannot be achieved.

Finnish astrophotographer J-P Metsavainio has developed a brilliant experimental technique that overcomes this (kinda): he converts astrophotographs into 3D volumetric models, and then uses those models to create dazzling 3D animations of nebulae.
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The Moon and Venus Captured in a Single Photograph

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Behold, a photograph of the moon. Can you see it? No, it’s not that tiny bright crescent you see… The moon is that faint giant crescent. That tiny one to its left is Venus. Hungarian astrophotographer Iván Éder captured this beautiful photograph back in 2004 from Budapest, Hungary.
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This Mind-blowing Photo of the Milky Way Shows 84 Million Stars in 9 Billion Pixels

Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in Chile have released a breathtaking new photograph showing the central area of our Milky Way galaxy. The photograph shows a whopping 84 million stars in an image measuring 108500×81500, which contains nearly 9 billion pixels.
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This is the Most Zoomed-In Photograph Ever Created by Mankind

What you’re looking at is the most zoomed-in photo ever shot by mankind. Titled the eXtreme Deep Field (XDF), it’s a followup to the famous Hubble Ultra-Deep Field photo created in the mid-2000s. Scientists combined 10-years-worth of Hubble Space Telescope photos to create this resulting image that shows 5,500 individual galaxies, some of which are one ten-billionth the brightness of what our human eyes can see.
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The World’s Most Powerful Digital Camera Snaps Its First Photos

On a mountaintop in Chile is the most powerful digital camera mankind has ever constructed. Called the Dark Energy Camera, the phone booth-sized device shoots 570-megapixel photographs using an array of 62 separate CCD sensors and a 13-foot light-gathering mirror. Planning and building the thing took 120 scientists from 23 international organizations a whopping 8 years.

This past week, the researchers behind the project announced the first fruits of their labor: massive photographs that show patches of the sky 20 times the size of the moon (as seen from Earth).
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The Curiosity Rover’s Descent into Mars as an Amazing HD Video

When NASA’s Curiosity rover performed its “seven minutes of terror” landing on Mars a couple weeks ago, the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) camera had the task of capturing 1600×1200 (~1.9 megapixel) photographs at a rate of 5 frames per second. The camera began snapping away from when the heatshield separated to a few seconds after the rover touched down. The amazing high-definition video above was created with these photographs, showing what it’s like to fall onto the surface of the red planet.
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What Night Sky Photos Would Look Like if Other Planets Replaced the Moon

What would photographs of the night sky look like if other planets in our solar system replaced the Moon? This beautiful video by 3kingAmazing (remixed using a video by Brad Goodspeed) shows the answer.

If you liked this video, check out what landscape photos would look like if Earth had Saturn’s rings and what night sky photos will look like over the next 7 billion years.

(via kottke.org)

A High Definition Time-Lapse of Venus Flying Past the Sun

There was a much-hyped transit of Venus yesterday in which Venus appeared as a small black circle moving across the face of the sun. This rare phenomenon occurs in pairs of eight years separated by more than a century: the previous transit was in 2004, but the next one won’t occur until 2117. If you missed out, don’t worry — there’s a boatload of beautiful photos and videos out there that can give you an even better view than what your eyes would have seen. The amazing high-definition video above was created using images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.
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