NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery’s first launch was back on August 30th, 1984 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. During the event, astronaut John W. Young was flying nearby in a Shuttle Training Aircraft, which astronauts use to assess weather conditions prior to launches and landings.
Shortly after Discovery lifted into the air, Young pulled out his camera and snapped the above picture-perfect photograph of the orbiter climbing into space. He managed to catch the shuttle and its fiery trail framed by the reflection of the sun on the Atlantic Ocean. You can find a much higher resolution version of this photograph here.
Image credit: Photograph by John Young/NASA
Hyperspectral cameras are those that can capture information in the electromagnetic spectrum, far beyond what the human eye — and consumer cameras — can see. American Photo Magazine has a fascinating feature that tells of how researchers around the world are using the cameras to uncover century and millennium-old mysteries:
The historic discoveries are just getting started. No one yet knows how much researchers and scholars will find with this new generation of hyperspectral technology. More than a hundred years ago, in the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus, archeologists found piles of illegible papyrus. Recently, University of Oxford researchers found that they contained fragments of a lost tragedy by the ancient author Sophocles, of whose plays only seven were known to have survived. New imaging methods have also found portions of a poem by Archilochus that reveal new details about the genesis of the Trojan War. The research at St. Catherine’s could settle long-standing debates over the origins and foundation of some of the world’s major religions.
Discoveries using hyperspectral photography so far include revisions to the US Declaration of Independence, hidden words in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and a possible Abraham Lincoln fingerprint on a copy of the Gettysburg Address.
Peeling Back the Hidden Pages of History With Hyperspectral Photography [American Photo]
P.S. Last year, a group of scientists was able to create a hyperspectral camera using an ordinary Canon 5D and random off-the-shelf parts.
Image credits: Photographs by Abby Brack Lewis and the Library of Congress
What if the battery in your camera could be charged in the same amount of time it takes to microwave a cup of instant noodles? It sounds crazy, but that’s what appears to be headed our way.
Researchers at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea have figured out a way to drastically cut down the time it takes to recharge a lithium-ion battery — the same kind found in most digital cameras.
California-based entomologist Shaun Winterton was browsing Flickr back in May 2011, when he discovered a new species of insect.
That’s right: he made a scientific discovery by simply looking at pictures online.
It might not be very applicable to the vast majority of photographers, but NASA astronaut Captain Alan Pointdexter has written up a fascinating article over on Luminous Landscape in which he shares advice about doing photography in space. Taking photos on the ground is one thing, but imagine using not just the sun, but the earth itself as a source of light.
After damaging the pellicle mirror in his Sony A55 with cleaning fluid, a guy named Dario decided to look for a makeshift replacement while waiting for a real replacement mirror to arrive. He then discovered that food wrap (AKA Saran wrap) works nearly as well as a real pellicle mirror. The only downsides are occasionally degraded autofocus and a soft-focus effect when facing bright lights.
Image credits: Photographs by Dario/sonyalpharumors
On a rainy day recently, light painting photographer Jeremy Jackson was playing around with a green laser pointer when he discovered something interesting: all the out of focus raindrops in the photograph had a lined pattern in them — and each one was unique! These “water drop snowflakes” were found in all of the photos he took that day.
Anyone know what causes this phenomenon?
Image credit: Photograph by Jeremy Jackson and used with permission
MIT scientists have discovered that graphene, a material consisting of one-atom thick sheets of carbon, produces electric current when struck by light. The researchers say the finding could impact a number of fields, including photography:
Graphene “could be a good photodetector” because it produces current in a different way than other materials used to detect light. It also “can detect over a very wide energy range,” Jarillo-Herrero says. For example, it works very well in infrared light, which can be difficult for other detectors to handle. That could make it an important component of devices from night-vision systems to advanced detectors for new astronomical telescopes.
No word on when DSLRs will start packing graphene sensors.
(via MIT via ExtremeTech)
P.S. Did you know that graphene was first discovered in 2004 after a thin layer of pencil lead was pulled off using some ordinary tape?
Image credit: Illustration by AlexanderAlUS
Researchers in Australia are working on developing a thin piezoelectric film that can be used to convert mechanical energy into electricity. An uber-useful application would be to use the film in existing gadgets, allowing button presses and finger swipes to be used to recharge the device’s battery. One of the lead scientists, Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran, states,
The power of piezoelectrics could be integrated into running shoes to charge mobile phones, enable laptops to be powered through typing or even used to convert blood pressure into a power source for pacemakers – essentially creating an everlasting battery.
Wouldn’t it be crazy if cameras of the future could be powered solely by pressing the shutter button when taking photos (and perhaps other buttons while chimping)?
(via Gizmag via Mashable)
Image credit: Shutter Button by drkshadow92
A Polish collector claims he’s found an extremely rare daguerrotype of composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin, taken in his final repose in 1849.
If the image is authentic, it would be one of only three photographs of the composer, including the image of him alive in 1846, above. And it would be the only known original daguerrotype in existence — all other images are duplicates.