Want to see how Las Vegas has grown from 1972 through 2010? NASA created this unique time-lapse video using photographs captured by Landsat satellites. From this perspective, it almost looks like humans are a mold spreading across the face of a fruit.
Posts Tagged ‘space’
Captured on April 1, 1995 by the Hubble Telescope, the photograph Pillars of Creation is one of the most famous space images ever made. Here’s a crazy fact though: did you know that the “pillars” seen in the photo were already long gone by the time the image was captured? Astronomers have concluded that the pillars — which measure up to 4 light years in length — were destroyed about 6,000 years ago by the shock wave from a supernova. Because of how long it takes light to travel across such vast distances, we can currently see the shock waves approaching the pillars but won’t actually see their destruction for another thousand years or so!
After NASA published its latest jaw-dropping “Blue Marble” photograph of Earth last month, many of you wondered how “real” the image was. Here’s NASA’s explanation on how their images are created:
The Suomi NPP satellite is in a polar orbit around Earth at an altitude of 512 miles (about 824 kilometers), but the perspective of the new Eastern hemisphere ‘Blue Marble’ is from 7,918 miles (about 12,743 kilometers). NASA scientist Norman Kuring managed to ‘step back’ from Earth to get the big picture by combining data from six different orbits of the Suomi NPP satellite. Or putting it a different way, the satellite flew above this area of Earth six times over an eight hour time period. Norman took those six sets of data and combined them into one image.
So rather than being a composite of multiple images captured from the same perspective, they do in fact map images captured by the satellite onto a 3D sphere.
Reddit user tirceol‘s father is an amateur astronomer who captures some amazing photographs of space from his front yard by hooking up a camera to his telescope’s eyepiece. He uses everything from a webcam to a Meade camera to capture the images, which are sometimes composites created using multiple photos. The above image shows the Andromeda galaxy 2.5 million light years away.
A couple weeks ago, 17-year-old Canadian teens Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad successfully sent a Lego man and four cameras to the edges of space on a weather balloon and captured photographs of the figurine posing with a Canadian flag at 78,000 feet — three times the cruising altitude of jets. They spent $400 on materials and four months of free Saturdays planning, buying, making, building, and testing:
[...] the two scoured Craigslist and Kijiji for used point-and-shoots. They needed Canons, which can be programmed to take photos every 20 seconds without stopping.
Next they sewed the parachute. “By no means are we, like, seamstresses,” says Ho. “We broke like, what, four needles? It was ridiculous.”
[...] Finally, they assembled the whole thing, carefully carving out space inside the Styrofoam container for the three point-and-shoots, the wide-angle video camera, and a cellphone with a downloaded GPS app. They super-glued their Lego astronaut to a gangplank on the outside, and printed off a Canadian flag for him to hold.
The vessel completed a 97-minute journey and captured plenty of footage and photos along the way. You can view a gallery of the images here.
NASA has released another Blue Marble photograph of Earth. It calls this one the “most amazing, highest resolution image of Earth ever”. The image is a composite created from a number of photos of Earth’s surface captured on January 4, 2012, and weighs in at a massive 64-megapixels (8000×8000). You can download the full-res version here. Be warned though — it might crash your browser.
Farmlands might look pretty ordinary from ground level, but photograph crop fields from space (or even from an airplane) and you’ll see strange and beautiful patterns.
Ever wonder how the US government managed to capture spy photos with satellites during the Cold War without the help of digital cameras, computers, or wireless transmission? The Atlantic has a fascinating article on the various techniques that were used:
From 1971 to 1986 a total of 20 satellites were launched, each containing 60 miles (100 kilometers) of film and sophisticated cameras that orbited the earth snapping vast, panoramic photographs of the Soviet Union, China and other potential foes. The film was shot back through the earth’s atmosphere in buckets that parachuted over the Pacific Ocean, where C-130 Air Force planes snagged them with grappling hooks.
You can check out all the details of the super secret photography program in this now-declassified report.
Over the past year, there have been a number of jaw-dropping (and viral) time-lapse videos created from the amazing photos captured from the International Space Station by astronaut Mike Fossum. The video above provides an interesting behind-the-scenes look into how the images are captured.