The Photography Thread

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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby IronDog » Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:48 pm




A NASA camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite captured a unique view of the moon as it moved in front of the sunlit side of Earth last month.

The series of test images shows the fully illuminated "dark side" of the moon that is never visible from Earth.

The images were captured by NASA's Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), a four megapixel CCD camera and telescope on the DSCOVR satellite orbiting 1 million miles from Earth. From its position between the sun and Earth, DSCOVR conducts its primary mission of real-time solar wind monitoring for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

EPIC maintains a constant view of the fully illuminated Earth as it rotates, providing scientific observations of ozone, vegetation, cloud height and aerosols in the atmosphere. Once EPIC begins regular observations next month, the camera will provide a series of Earth images allowing study of daily variations over the entire globe. About twice a year the camera will capture the moon and Earth together as the orbit of DSCOVR crosses the orbital plane of the moon.

These images were taken between 3:50 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. EDT on July 16, showing the moon moving over the Pacific Ocean near North America. The North Pole is in the upper left corner of the image, reflecting the orbital tilt of Earth from the vantage point of the spacecraft.


The far side of the moon was not seen until 1959 when the Soviet Luna 3 spacecraft returned the first images. Since then, several NASA missions have imaged the lunar far side in great detail. The same side of the moon always faces an earthbound observer because the moon is tidally locked to Earth. That means its orbital period is the same as its rotation around its axis.

In May 2008 NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft captured a similar view of Earth and the moon from a distance of 31 million miles away. The series of images showed the moon passing in front of our home planet when it was only partially illuminated by the sun.

EPIC's "natural color" images of Earth are generated by combining three separate monochrome exposures taken by the camera in quick succession. EPIC takes a series of 10 images using different narrowband spectral filters -- from ultraviolet to near infrared -- to produce a variety of science products. The red, green and blue channel images are used in these color images.

Combining three images taken about 30 seconds apart as the moon moves produces a slight but noticeable camera artifact on the right side of the moon. Because the moon has moved in relation to the Earth between the time the first (red) and last (green) exposures were made, a thin green offset appears on the right side of the moon when the three exposures are combined. This natural lunar movement also produces a slight red and blue offset on the left side of the moon in these unaltered images.

The lunar far side lacks the large, dark, basaltic plains, or maria, that are so prominent on the Earth-facing side. The largest far side features are Mare Moscoviense in the upper left and Tsiolkovskiy crater in the lower left. A thin sliver of shadowed area of moon is visible on its right side.

"It is surprising how much brighter Earth is than the moon," said Adam Szabo, DSCOVR project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "Our planet is a truly brilliant object in dark space compared to the lunar surface."

Once EPIC begins regular observations next month, NASA will post daily color images of Earth to a dedicated public website. These images, showing different views of the planet as it rotates through the day, will be available 12 to 36 hours after they are acquired.

DSCOVR is a partnership between NASA, NOAA and the U.S. Air Force with the primary objective of maintaining the nation's real-time solar wind monitoring capabilities, which are critical to the accuracy and lead time of space weather alerts and forecasts from NOAA.

For more information about DSCOVR, visit:

http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/DSCOVR


Anyone see Spock's transformer ship?
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby IronDog » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:54 am

A nice screen background image:

Image

HUBBLE SEES A MESS OF STARS

Bursts of pink and red, dark lanes of mottled cosmic dust, and a bright scattering of stars — this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows part of a messy barred spiral galaxy known as NGC 428. It lies approximately 48 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Cetus (The Sea Monster).

Although a spiral shape is still just about visible in this close-up shot, overall NGC 428’s spiral structure appears to be quite distorted and warped, thought to be a result of a collision between two galaxies. There also appears to be a substantial amount of star formation occurring within NGC 428 — another telltale sign of a merger. When galaxies collide their clouds of gas can merge, creating intense shocks and hot pockets of gas, and often triggering new waves of star formation.

NGC 428 was discovered by William Herschel in December 1786. More recently a type of supernova designated SN2013ct http://tutchin.narod.ru/astramat/sn2013ct.htmwas discovered within the galaxy by Stuart Parker of the BOSS http://bosssupernova.com/(Backyard Observatory Supernova Search) project in Australia and New Zealand, although it is unfortunately not visible in this image.

This image was captured by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveyshttp://www.spacetelescope.org/about/general/instruments/acs/ (ACS) and Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 http://www.spacetelescope.org/about/general/instruments/wfpc2/ (WFPC2).

Image credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA and S. Smartt (Queen's University Belfast), Acknowledgements: Nick Rose and Flickr user penninecloud
Text credit: European Space Agency
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby IronDog » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:57 am

Image

LONELY GALAXY LOST IN SPACE

Most galaxies are clumped together in groups or clusters. A neighboring galaxy is never far away. But this galaxy, known as NGC 6503, has found itself in a lonely position, at the edge of a strangely empty patch of space called the Local Void.

The Local Void is a huge stretch of space that is at least 150 million light-years across. It seems completely empty of stars or galaxies. The galaxy’s odd location on the edge of this never-land led stargazer Stephen James O’Meara to dub it the “Lost-In-Space galaxy” in his 2007 book, Hidden Treasures.

NGC 6503 is 18 million light-years away from us in the northern circumpolar constellation of Draco. NGC 6503 spans some 30,000 light-years, about a third of the size of the Milky Way.

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows NGC 6503 in striking detail and with a rich set of colors. Bright red patches of gas can be seen scattered through its swirling spiral arms, mixed with bright blue regions that contain newly forming stars. Dark brown dust lanes snake across the galaxy’s bright arms and center, giving it a mottled appearance.

The Hubble Advanced Camera for Surveys data for NGC 6503 were taken in April 2003, and the Wide Field Camera 3 data were taken in August 2013.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington, D.C.

Photo Credit: NASA, ESA, D. Calzetti (University of Massachusetts), H. Ford (Johns Hopkins University), and the Hubble Heritage Team

For images and more information about the Hubble Space Telescope, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/hubble or http://hubblesite.org/news/2015/23
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby IronDog » Thu Oct 15, 2015 11:54 am

Wow, seems everyone has forgotten how to use their picture-taking-machine-thingies

Image

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) captured this photograph of the green lights of the aurora from the International Space Station on Oct. 7, 2015. Sharing with his social media followers, Kelly wrote, "The daily morning dose of #aurora to help wake you up. #GoodMorning from @Space_Station! #YearInSpace"

Image Credit: NASA


Image

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, recently past the halfway mark of his one-year mission to the International Space Station, photographed the Nile River during a nighttime flyover on Sept. 22, 2015. Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) wrote, "Day 179. The #Nile at night is a beautiful sight for these sore eyes. Good night from @space_station! #YearInSpace."

Image Credit: NASA


Image

On Sept. 17, 2015, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly captured images and video from the International Space Station during an early morning flyover of the United States. Sharing with his social media followers, Kelly wrote, "Clear skies over much of the USA today. #GoodMorning from @Space_Station! #YearInSpace."

Tuesday, Sept. 15 marked the midpoint of the one-year mission to the space station for Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko. The average International Space Station expedition lasts four to six months. Research enabled by the one-year mission will help scientists better understand how the human body reacts and adapts to long-duration spaceflight. This knowledge is critical as NASA looks toward human missions deeper into the solar system, including to and from Mars, which could last 500 days or longer.

Image Credit: NASA


Image

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) shared this photograph on social media, taken from the International Space Station on Sept. 10, 2015. Kelly wrote, "#GoodMorning Texas! Great view of you, the #moon, and #Venus this morning. #YearInSpace"

On Sept. 15, Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko clock in for their 171st day aboard the International Space Station since arriving on March 27. The pair, set to come home March 3, 2016, are spending 342 days in space to help researchers better understand how the human body reacts and adapts to long duration spaceflight. In their almost six months in orbit, Kelly and Kornienko have participated in a range of scientific experiments focusing on seven key areas of human research. The one-year crew mission is the latest step in the International Space Station’s role as a platform for preparing humanity for exploration into deeper space.

Image Credit: NASA


Image

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) shared this photograph on social media, taken from the International Space Station on August 15, 2015. Kelly wrote, "#Aurora trailing a colorful veil over Earth this morning. Good morning from @space_station! #YearInSpace"

The dancing lights of the aurora provide spectacular views, but also capture the imagination of scientists who study incoming energy and particles from the sun. Aurora are one effect of such energetic particles, which can speed out from the sun both in a steady stream called the solar wind and due to giant eruptions known as coronal mass ejections or CMEs. After a trip toward Earth that can last two to three days, the solar particles and magnetic fields cause the release of particles already trapped near Earth, which in turn trigger reactions in the upper atmosphere in which oxygen and nitrogen molecules release photons of light. The result: the Northern and Southern lights.

More: NASA Resources on Aurorae

Image Credit: NASA


Image

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly), currently on a year-long mission on the International Space Station, took this photograph of a sunrise and posted it to social media on Aug. 10, 2015. Kelly wrote, "#GoodMorning to those in the western #USA. Looks like there's a lot going on down there. #YearInSpace"

The space station and its crew orbit Earth from an altitude of 220 miles, traveling at a speed of approximately 17,500 miles per hour. Because the station completes each trip around the globe in about 92 minutes, the crew experiences 16 sunrises and sunsets each day.

Image Credit: NASA
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby IronDog » Fri Oct 23, 2015 1:23 pm

I think I see Java's old home.

Image

This image shows the galaxy Messier 94, which lies in the small northern constellation of the Hunting Dogs, about 16 million light-years away.

Within the bright ring or starburst ring around Messier 94, new stars are forming at a high rate and many young, bright stars are present within it.

The cause of this peculiarly shaped star-forming region is likely a pressure wave going outwards from the galactic center, compressing the gas and dust in the outer region. The compression of material means the gas starts to collapse into denser clouds. Inside these dense clouds, gravity pulls the gas and dust together until temperature and pressure are high enough for stars to be born.

Text credit: European Space Agency
Image credit: ESA/NASA


Image

The arrangement of the spiral arms in the galaxy Messier 63, seen here in an image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, recall the pattern at the center of a sunflower. So the nickname for this cosmic object — the Sunflower Galaxy — is no coincidence.

Discovered by Pierre Mechain in 1779, the galaxy later made it as the 63rd entry into fellow French astronomer Charles Messier’s famous catalogue, published in 1781. The two astronomers spotted the Sunflower Galaxy’s glow in the small, northern constellation Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs). We now know this galaxy is about 27 million light-years away and belongs to the M51 Group — a group of galaxies, named after its brightest member, Messier 51, another spiral-shaped galaxy dubbed the Whirlpool Galaxy.

Galactic arms, sunflowers and whirlpools are only a few examples of nature’s apparent preference for spirals. For galaxies like Messier 63 the winding arms shine bright because of the presence of recently formed, blue–white giant stars and clusters, readily seen in this Hubble image.

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Text credit: European Space Agency


Image

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows Messier 96, a spiral galaxy just over 35 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). It is of about the same mass and size as the Milky Way. It was first discovered by astronomer Pierre Méchain in 1781, and added to Charles Messier’s famous catalogue of astronomical objects just four days later.

The galaxy resembles a giant maelstrom of glowing gas, rippled with dark dust that swirls inwards towards the nucleus. Messier 96 is a very asymmetric galaxy; its dust and gas are unevenly spread throughout its weak spiral arms, and its core is not exactly at the galactic center. Its arms are also asymmetrical, thought to have been influenced by the gravitational pull of other galaxies within the same group as Messier 96.

This group, named the M96 Group, also includes the bright galaxies Messier 105 and Messier 95, as well as a number of smaller and fainter galaxies. It is the nearest group containing both bright spirals and a bright elliptical galaxy (Messier 105).

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA and the LEGUS Team, Acknowledgement: R. Gendler
Text credit: European Space Agency


Image

Here we see the spectacular cosmic pairing of the star Hen 2-427 — more commonly known as WR 124 — and the nebula M1-67 which surrounds it. Both objects, captured here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope are found in the constellation of Sagittarius and lie 15,000 light-years away.

The star Hen 2-427 shines brightly at the very center of this explosive image and around the hot clumps of surrounding gas that are being ejected into space at over 93,210 miles (150,000 km) per hour.

Hen 2-427 is a Wolf–Rayet star, named after the astronomers Charles Wolf and Georges Rayet. Wolf–Rayet are super-hot stars characterized by a fierce ejection of mass.

The nebula M1-67 is estimated to be no more than 10,000 years old — just a baby in astronomical terms — but what a beautiful and magnificent sight it makes.

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt
Text credit: European Space Agency
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby IronDog » Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:07 pm

One of my co-workers passed this along the other day and I thought I'd share it with you, if it'll work

Guys,
Check out the above clip. I was passing by the Davidson Center on my way home yesterday and some fool launched the Saturn V rocket that they have on display. Just so happen, I was able to capture it on my cell phone.
Unbelievable!!!

View My Video
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby Buc2 » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:49 am

LOL!
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby paco74 » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:00 am

Helloooo, you savvy photogs.

My daughter just started high school at Dixie Hollins and is in some media arts something or other program (don't hate me because I can't remember it correctly, I live in Texas) and she's been asking for a nice camera and I need your help. She wants a Canon.

So....

This past weekend I picked up the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 premium kit witch includes the camera, EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.65 IS STM lense, EF 75-300MM f/4-5.6 III lense, and EOS shoulder bag (also include battery charger, etc)....for $449 plus tax at Best Buy.

So, did dad do good?

Mind you she is a 14 yo freshman. She also wanted a MacBook Pro with some special artsy fartsy program for editing music or something but dad isn't made of money.
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby Buc2 » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:00 am

paco74 wrote:Helloooo, you savvy photogs.

My daughter just started high school at Dixie Hollins and is in some media arts something or other program (don't hate me because I can't remember it correctly, I live in Texas) and she's been asking for a nice camera and I need your help. She wants a Canon.

So....

This past weekend I picked up the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 premium kit witch includes the camera, EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.65 IS STM lense, EF 75-300MM f/4-5.6 III lense, and EOS shoulder bag (also include battery charger, etc)....for $449 plus tax at Best Buy.

So, did dad do good?

Mind you she is a 14 yo freshman. She also wanted a MacBook Pro with some special artsy fartsy program for editing music or something but dad isn't made of money.


Should have told her to use her damned phone. :D
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby Wenchy » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:03 am

Buc2 wrote:
Should have told her to use her damned phone. :D


True. I just took this one of my croissant with my iPhone. ;)

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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby IronDog » Wed Dec 09, 2015 12:44 pm

Wenchy wrote:
Buc2 wrote:
Should have told her to use her damned phone. :D


True. I just took this one of my croissant with my iPhone. ;)

Image

The texture, and detailing. Beautiful. And your use of the ambient lighting....brilliant! ;)
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby IronDog » Thu Dec 10, 2015 1:15 pm

No, the Venusians are NOT firing particle weapons at us.

Image

On Dec. 5, 2015, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Kimiya Yui captured this image from the International Space Station of the planet Venus shining bright. Part of the station's Kibo laboratory with the star Spica visible below is seen at the top of the frame. At the time this photograph was taken, Japan's Akatsuki spacecraft, a Venus climate orbiter, was nearing the planet.

At about 7 p.m. EST on Sunday, Dec. 6, the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) at JAXA commanded Akatsuki to fire four thrusters, which successfully nudged the spacecraft into an elliptical orbit around Venus. This JAXA mission is being celebrated by NASA scientists, eager to learn more about the atmosphere and climate of Earth’s enigmatic sister planet. Akatsuki is the first spacecraft to explore Venus since the European Space Agency’s Venus Express reached the end of its mission in 2014.

Image Credit: NASA/JAXA


Gotta say, this reminds me of some of those Space movies Hollywood has spit up onto the big screens. If you put an astronaut out there standing on the arm tip (yes, tip not pit) I would swear I've seen it before.

Image

JAXA astronaut Kimiya Yui captured this photograph from the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) window on the International Space Station on Dec. 6, 2015. JEM, also called Kibo - which means "hope" in Japanese - is Japan's first human space facility and enhances the unique research capabilities of the International Space Station.

Yui and fellow Expedition 45 crew members Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos and Kjell Lindgren of NASA are packing their Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft and getting ready for the ride back to Earth. Their Soyuz will undock on Friday, Dec. 11 at 4:49 a.m. EST and land in Kazakhstan, wrapping up a stay of 141 days in space since their launch in late July.

Image Credit: NASA/JAXA


This arm TIP

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The International Space Station's robotic arm, Canadarm2, is visible over Earth in this Nov. 27, 2015 photograph taken by one of the Expedition 45 crew members aboard the station.

On Dec. 6, Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren will operate the Canadarm2 from inside the station's cupola, using it for the rendezvous and grapple of Orbital ATK's Cygnus commercial cargo craft when it arrives at the station. Cygnus will be berthed to the Unity module. The cargo includes numerous experiments across an array of specialties along with some student-devised projects, as well as crew supplies including food, water and clothing.

Orbital ATK's Cygnus cargo mission is scheduled to launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 5:55 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Image Credit: NASA

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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby Noles1724 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 2:20 pm

moving photos

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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby Buc2 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 2:30 pm

Image

This is the sunset at the North Pole with the moon at its closest point last week (September 2015). A scene you will probably never get to see in person, so take a moment and enjoy. An amazing photo and not one easily duplicated.
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby paco74 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:51 pm

Butt heads..... :buttred:
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby IronDog » Tue Dec 15, 2015 9:35 am

Before

Image

In this one minute exposure, a meteor streaks across the sky as the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft is rolled out by train to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015 in Kazakhstan. Launch of the Soyuz is scheduled for Dec. 15 and will send Expedition 46 Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Flight Engineer Tim Kopra of NASA, and Flight Engineer Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency) to the International Space Station for a six-month stay.

Photo Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky


and after

Image

The Soyuz TMA-19M rocket is launched with Expedition 46 Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Flight Engineer Tim Kopra of NASA, and Flight Engineer Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency), Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Malenchenko, Kopra, and Peake will spend the next six months living and working aboard the International Space Station.

Image Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky


Usually we get images of the rocket just after liftoff where it is simply a fireball surrounding the bottom and the pad. This is the first time IronDog has seen a photo from this time in the flight. Nice clear sky
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby Wenchy » Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:16 am

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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby IronDog » Fri Dec 18, 2015 10:24 am

We have the view of the earth in 1972 as the Apollo 17 crew was en-route to the moon:

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The Apollo 17 crew caught this breathtaking view of our home planet as they were traveling to the Moon on Dec. 7, 1972. It's the first time astronauts were able to photograph the South polar ice cap. Nearly the entire coastline of Africa is clearly visible, along with the Arabian Peninsula.

Image Credit: NASA


Compared to this view from a little farther out, but with more "advanced" equipment taken in July of this year:

Image

A NASA camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite has returned its first view of the entire sunlit side of Earth from one million miles away.

This color image of Earth was taken by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), a four megapixel CCD camera and telescope. The image was generated by combining three separate images to create a photographic-quality image. The camera takes a series of 10 images using different narrowband filters -- from ultraviolet to near infrared -- to produce a variety of science products. The red, green and blue channel images are used in these color images.

The image was taken July 6, 2015, showing North and Central America. The central turquoise areas are shallow seas around the Caribbean islands. This Earth image shows the effects of sunlight scattered by air molecules, giving the image a characteristic bluish tint. The EPIC team is working to remove this atmospheric effect from subsequent images. Once the instrument begins regular data acquisition, EPIC will provide a daily series of Earth images allowing for the first time study of daily variations over the entire globe. These images, available 12 to 36 hours after they are acquired, will be posted to a dedicated web page by September 2015.

The primary objective of DSCOVR, a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Air Force, is to maintain the nation’s real-time solar wind monitoring capabilities, which are critical to the accuracy and lead time of space weather alerts and forecasts from NOAA.

For more information about DSCOVR, visit:

http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/DSCOVR/


and who can forget the view from the moon way back when:

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Earthrise:
Taken aboard Apollo 8 by Bill Anders, this iconic picture shows Earth peeking out from beyond the lunar surface as the first crewed spacecraft circumnavigated the Moon.


as compared to the new highres image recently sent by LRO:

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NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LRO/main/index.html) (LRO) recently captured a unique view of Earth from the spacecraft's vantage point in orbit around the moon.

"The image is simply stunning," said Noah Petro, Deputy Project Scientist for LRO at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "The image of the Earth evokes the famous 'Blue Marble' (https://www.nasa.gov/content/blue-marble-image-of-the-earth-from-apollo-17) image taken by Astronaut Harrison Schmitt during Apollo 17, 43 years ago, which also showed Africa prominently in the picture."

In this composite image we see Earth appear to rise over the lunar horizon from the viewpoint of the spacecraft, with the center of the Earth just off the coast of Liberia (at 4.04 degrees North, 12.44 degrees West). The large tan area in the upper right is the Sahara Desert, and just beyond is Saudi Arabia. The Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America are visible to the left. On the moon, we get a glimpse of the crater Compton, which is located just beyond the eastern limb of the moon, on the lunar farside.

LRO was launched on June 18, 2009, and has collected a treasure trove of data with its seven powerful instruments, making an invaluable contribution to our knowledge about the moon. LRO experiences 12 earthrises every day; however the spacecraft is almost always busy imaging the lunar surface so only rarely does an opportunity arise such that its camera instrument can capture a view of Earth. Occasionally LRO points off into space to acquire observations of the extremely thin lunar atmosphere and perform instrument calibration measurements. During these movements sometimes Earth (and other planets) pass through the camera's field of view and dramatic images such as the one shown here are acquired.

This image was composed from a series of images taken Oct. 12, when LRO was about 83 miles (134 kilometers) above the moon's farside crater Compton. Capturing an image of the Earth and moon with LRO's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) instrument is a complicated task. First the spacecraft must be rolled to the side (in this case 67 degrees), then the spacecraft slews with the direction of travel to maximize the width of the lunar horizon in LROC's Narrow Angle Camera image. All this takes place while LRO is traveling faster than 3,580 miles per hour (over 1,600 meters per second) relative to the lunar surface below the spacecraft!

The high-resolution Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) on LRO takes black-and-white images, while the lower resolution Wide Angle Camera (WAC) takes color images, so you might wonder how we got a high-resolution picture of the Earth in color. Since the spacecraft, Earth, and moon are all in motion, we had to do some special processing (http://lroc.sese.asu.edu/posts/895)to create an image that represents the view of the Earth and moon at one particular time. The final Earth image contains both WAC and NAC information. WAC provides the color, and the NAC provides high-resolution detail.

"From the Earth, the daily moonrise and moonset are always inspiring moments," said Mark Robinson of Arizona State University in Tempe, principal investigator for LROC. "However, lunar astronauts will see something very different: viewed from the lunar surface, the Earth never rises or sets. Since the moon is tidally locked, Earth is always in the same spot above the horizon, varying only a small amount with the slight wobble of the moon. The Earth may not move across the 'sky', but the view is not static. Future astronauts will see the continents rotate in and out of view and the ever-changing pattern of clouds will always catch one's eye, at least on the nearside. The Earth is never visible from the farside; imagine a sky with no Earth or moon - what will farside explorers think with no Earth overhead?"

NASA's first Earthrise image (http://sservi.nasa.gov/LOIRP/loirp_gallery/) was taken with the Lunar Orbiter 1 spacecraft in 1966. Perhaps NASA's most iconic Earthrise (http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_1249.html) photo was taken by the crew of the Apollo 8 mission as the spacecraft entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve Dec. 24, 1968. That evening, the astronauts -- Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders -- held a live broadcast from lunar orbit, in which they showed pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from their spacecraft. Said Lovell, "The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth."

More images and information from ASU's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera website (http://lroc.sese.asu.edu/posts/895)

Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby Shadowhawk » Sun Dec 20, 2015 2:49 pm

Falcon 9 in the hangar:

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Launch and landing attempt tonight.
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby Corsair » Sun Dec 20, 2015 3:09 pm

Bad Placement:

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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby Buc2 » Mon Dec 21, 2015 8:28 am

IronDog wrote:No, the Venusians are NOT firing particle weapons at us.

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Looking at that thin layer of atmosphere in this photo, I can't help but think how little there is between us, the lethal radiation from the sun, and vacuum of space. Awesome.
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby IronDog » Fri Feb 05, 2016 1:49 pm

A nice Hubble shot for your desktops

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This image, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows a peculiar galaxy known as NGC 1487, lying about 30 million light-years away in the southern constellation of Eridanus.

Rather than viewing it as a celestial object, it is actually better to think of this as an event. Here, we are witnessing two or more galaxies in the act of merging together to form a single new galaxy. Each galaxy has lost almost all traces of its original appearance, as stars and gas have been thrown by gravity in an elaborate cosmic whirl.

Unless one is very much bigger than the other, galaxies are always disrupted by the violence of the merging process. As a result, it is very difficult to determine precisely what the original galaxies looked like and, indeed, how many of them there were. In this case, it is possible that we are seeing the merger of several dwarf galaxies that were previously clumped together in a small group.

Although older yellow and red stars can be seen in the outer regions of the new galaxy, its appearance is dominated by large areas of bright blue stars, illuminating the patches of gas that gave them life. This burst of star formation may well have been triggered by the merger.

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt
Text credit: European Space Agency


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Despite its unassuming appearance, the edge-on spiral galaxy captured in the left half of this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image is actually quite remarkable.

Located about one billion light-years away in the constellation of Eridanus, this striking galaxy — known as LO95 0313-192 — has a spiral shape similar to that of the Milky Way. It has a large central bulge, and arms speckled with brightly glowing gas mottled by thick lanes of dark dust. Its companion, sitting in the right of the frame, is known rather unpoetically as [LOY2001] J031549.8-190623.

Jets, outbursts of superheated gas moving at close to the speed of light, have long been associated with the cores of giant elliptical galaxies, and galaxies in the process of merging. However, in an unexpected discovery, astronomers found LO95 0313-192, even though it is a spiral galaxy, to have intense radio jets spewing out from its center. The galaxy appears to have two more regions that are also strongly emitting in the radio part of the spectrum, making it even rarer still.

The discovery of these giant jets in 2003 — not visible in this image, but indicated in this earlier Hubble composite (https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/opo0304c/) — has been followed by the unearthing of a further three spiral galaxies containing radio-emitting jets in recent years. This growing class of unusual spirals continues to raise significant questions about how jets are produced within galaxies, and how they are thrown out into the cosmos.

Text credit: ESA (European Space Agency)
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; acknowledgement, Judy Schmidt


Hubble Sees Monstrous Cloud Boomerang Back to our Galaxy

Hubble Space Telescope astronomers are finding that the old adage “what goes up must come down” even applies to an immense cloud of hydrogen gas outside our Milky Way galaxy. The invisible cloud is plummeting toward our galaxy at nearly 700,000 miles per hour.


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This composite image shows the size and location of the Smith Cloud on the sky. The cloud appears in false-color, radio wavelengths as observed by the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. The visible-light image of the background star field shows the cloud's location in the direction of the constellation Aquila.
Credits: Saxton/Lockman/NRAO/AUI/NSF/Mellinger


Though hundreds of enormous, high-velocity gas clouds whiz around the outskirts of our galaxy, this so-called “Smith Cloud” is unique because its trajectory is well known. New Hubble observations suggest it was launched from the outer regions of the galactic disk, around 70 million years ago. The cloud was discovered in the early 1960s by doctoral astronomy student Gail Smith, who detected the radio waves emitted by its hydrogen.

The cloud is on a return collision course and is expected to plow into the Milky Way’s disk in about 30 million years. When it does, astronomers believe it will ignite a spectacular burst of star formation, perhaps providing enough gas to make 2 million suns.

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This diagram shows the 100-million-year-long trajectory of the Smith Cloud as it arcs out of the plane of our Milky Way galaxy and then returns like a boomerang. Hubble Space Telescope measurements show that the cloud came out of a region near the edge of the galaxy's disk of stars 70 million years ago. The cloud is now stretched into the shape of a comet by gravity and gas pressure. Following a ballistic path, the cloud will fall back into the disk and trigger new star formation 30 million years from now.
Credits: NASA/ESA/A. Feild (STScI)


“The cloud is an example of how the galaxy is changing with time,” explained team leader Andrew Fox of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. “It’s telling us that the Milky Way is a bubbling, very active place where gas can be thrown out of one part of the disk and then return back down into another.

"Our galaxy is recycling its gas through clouds, the Smith Cloud being one example, and will form stars in different places than before. Hubble’s measurements of the Smith Cloud are helping us to visualize how active the disks of galaxies are,” Fox said.

Astronomers have measured this comet-shaped region of gas to be 11,000 light-years long and 2,500 light-years across. If the cloud could be seen in visible light, it would span the sky with an apparent diameter 30 times greater than the size of the full moon.

Astronomers long thought that the Smith Cloud might be a failed, starless galaxy, or gas falling into the Milky Way from intergalactic space. If either of these scenarios proved true, the cloud would contain mainly hydrogen and helium, not the heavier elements made by stars. But if it came from within the galaxy, it would contain more of the elements found within our sun.

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Hubble's Cosmic Origins Spectrograph can measure how the light from distant background objects is affected as it passes through the cloud, yielding clues to the chemical composition of the cloud. Astronomers trace the cloud's origin to the disk of our Milky Way. Combined ultraviolet and radio observations correlate to the cloud's infall velocities, providing solid evidence that the spectral features link to the cloud's dynamics.
Credits: NASA/ESA/A. Feild (STScI)


The team used Hubble to measure the Smith Cloud’s chemical composition for the first time, to determine where it came from. They observed the ultraviolet light from the bright cores of three active galaxies that reside billions of light-years beyond the cloud. Using Hubble’s Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, they measured how this light filters through the cloud.

In particular, they looked for sulfur in the cloud, which can absorb ultraviolet light. “By measuring sulfur, you can learn how enriched in sulfur atoms the cloud is compared to the sun,” Fox explained. Sulfur is a good gauge of how many heavier elements reside in the cloud.

The astronomers found that the Smith Cloud is as rich in sulfur as the Milky Way’s outer disk, a region about 40,000 light-years from the galaxy’s center (about 15,000 light-years farther out than our sun and solar system). This means that the Smith Cloud was enriched by material from stars. This would not happen if it were pristine hydrogen from outside the galaxy, or if it were the remnant of a failed galaxy devoid of stars. Instead, the cloud appears to have been ejected from within the Milky Way and is now boomeranging back.

Though this settles the mystery of the Smith Cloud’s origin, it raises new questions: How did the cloud get to where it is now? What calamitous event could have catapulted it from the Milky Way’s disk, and how did it remain intact? Could it be a region of dark matter — an invisible form of matter — that passed through the disk and captured Milky Way gas? The answers may be found in future research.

The team’s research appears in the Jan. 1, 2016, issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington, D.C.

For images and more information about the Smith Cloud and Hubble, visit:

http://hubblesite.org/news/2016/04
http://www.nasa.gov/hubble



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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby Buc2 » Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:27 pm

Today was a snow day for Lynchburg, VA. I took the opportunity to walk around my townhome complex and take a few pics. It's a small complex with only 22 units which butts up against a city park. It's very much like living in the country without the inconvenience of actually living in the country. Very peaceful.

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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby IronDog » Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:57 pm

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Someone sent this to me on FB
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby Buc2 » Wed Apr 06, 2016 12:10 pm

This photo was from the May 2011 launch of Endeavour that I had never seen. I thought it was cool enough to share.

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Space Shuttle Rising
Credit: NASA

Explanation: What's that rising from the clouds? The space shuttle. If you looked out the window of an airplane at just the right place and time last week, you could have seen something very unusual -- the space shuttle Endeavour launching to orbit. Images of the rising shuttle and its plume became widely circulated over the web shortly after Endeavour's final launch. The above image was taken from a shuttle training aircraft and is not copyrighted. Taken well above the clouds, the image can be matched with similar images of the same shuttle plume taken below the clouds. Hot glowing gasses expelled by the engines are visible near the rising shuttle, as well as a long smoke plume. A shadow of the plume appears on the cloud deck, indicating the direction of the Sun. The shuttle Endeavour remains docked with the International Space Station and is currently scheduled to return to Earth next week.
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby IronDog » Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:10 am

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Just a neat example of how lightning disperses along the surface. One of the reasons behind the mass cattle and sheep kills after a thunderstorm. Those cattle that face the tree have enough distance between their front and rear hooves to allow for a voltage differential that generates a lethal current though the animals body.
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby IronDog » Wed Apr 27, 2016 1:25 pm

Nice detail, zoomable, with legend scale for perspective. Mars panorama

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This mid-afternoon, 360-degree panorama was acquired by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover on April 4, 2016, as part of long-term campaign to document the context and details of the geology and landforms along Curiosity's traverse since landing in August 2012.

The view combines dozens of images taken during the mission's 1,302nd sol, or Martian day, by Mastcam's left-eye camera from a location on top of what rover team members call "Naukluft Plateau" (http://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/curiosity-mars-rover-crosses-rugged-plateau) on lower Mount Sharp, which stands inside Gale Crater.

The foreground and middle distance show a geologic scene dominated by eroded remnants of a finely layered ancient sandstone deposit. Since landing, the rover traversed through terrains dominated by water-lain sedimentary rocks (mudstones and siltstones, and early on, conglomerates), some of which have contained minerals like clays that attest to the ancient presence of water. However, the rover crossed into very different geology while climbing onto the Naukluft Plateau. The sandstone here appears to be dominated by thick layers of windblown sand, suggesting that these deposits formed in a drier epoch. These rocks resemble the types of rocks that a dune field like the "Bagnold Dunes" http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA20283 -- visited by Curiosity in late 2015 and early 2016 --would form if buried.

The scene is presented with a color adjustment that approximates white balancing, to resemble how the rocks and sand would appear under daytime lighting conditions on Earth.

A portion of the rim of Gale Crater fills the horizon in the center of the image, with upper Mount Sharp on the horizon at right. South is at both ends of this full-circle scene; north is at center. The rover's location when its Mastcam acquired the component images of this scene was the site it reached in its Sol 1301 drive, http://mars.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/ima ... ageID=7787.

This image adds two small scale bars to the scene. One at left center is placed on rocks about 16 feet (5 meters) from the camera and marks a length of 50 centimeters (20 inches). The other is in the upper center of the scene, placed on rocks about 164 feet (50 meters) from the camera and marking a length of 4 meters (13 feet).

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project's Curiosity rover and its Navcam. For more information about Curiosity, visit http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Full resolution here (http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA20332)
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby Caradoc » Wed May 04, 2016 9:05 pm

Going with the Astronomy theme here, here are some pics from the Mauna Kea summit where I used to work:

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Gemini:
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Inside the UH88 (the one I worked on):
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Outside the UH88:
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Gemini and "The Wedge" (the wedge is the dark triangle to the right, it is the shadow of the earth rising as the sun sets):
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby IronDog » Tue May 10, 2016 7:37 am

Who watched the solar eclipse by Mercury the other day? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler? Buehler???

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The planet Mercury is seen in silhouette, lower third of image, as it transits across the face of the sun Monday, May 9, 2016, as viewed from Boyertown, Pennsylvania. Mercury passes between Earth and the sun only about 13 times a century, with the previous transit taking place in 2006.

Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)


And now for some nice Hubble shots:

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Discovered in 1784 by the German–British astronomer William Herschel, NGC 4394 is a barred spiral galaxy situated about 55 million light-years from Earth. The galaxy lies in the constellation of Coma Berenices (Berenice's Hair) and is considered to be a member of the Virgo Cluster.

NGC 4394 is the archetypal barred spiral galaxy, with bright spiral arms emerging from the ends of a bar that cuts through the galaxy’s central bulge. These arms are peppered with young blue stars, dark filaments of cosmic dust, and bright, fuzzy regions of active star formation. At the center of NGC 4394 lies a region of ionized gas known as a low-ionization nuclear emission-line region (LINER). LINERs are active regions that display a characteristic set of emission lines in their spectra— mostly from weakly ionized atoms of oxygen, nitrogen and sulphur.

Although LINER galaxies are relatively common, it’s still unclear where the energy comes from to ionize the gas. In most cases it is thought to be the influence of a black hole at the center of the galaxy, but it could also be the result of a high level of star formation. In the case of NGC 4394, it is likely that gravitational interaction with a nearby neighbor has caused gas to flow into the galaxy’s central region, providing a new reservoir of material to fuel the black hole or to make new stars.

Text credit: European Space Agency
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt


Let's put some perspective on things, shall we? Count the galaxies, yes galaxies:

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This striking NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image captures the galaxy UGC 477, located just over 110 million light-years away in the constellation of Pisces (The Fish).

UGC 477 is a low surface brightness (LSB) galaxy. First proposed in 1976 by Mike Disney, the existence of LSB galaxies was confirmed only in 1986 with the discovery of Malin 1. LSB galaxies like UGC 477 are more diffusely distributed than galaxies such as Andromeda and the Milky Way. With surface brightnesses up to 250 times fainter than the night sky, these galaxies can be incredibly difficult to detect.

Most of the matter present in LSB galaxies is in the form of hydrogen gas, rather than stars. Unlike the bulges of normal spiral galaxies, the centers of LSB galaxies do not contain large numbers of stars. Astronomers suspect that this is because LSB galaxies are mainly found in regions devoid of other galaxies, and have therefore experienced fewer galactic interactions and mergers capable of triggering high rates of star formation.

LSB galaxies such as UGC 477 instead appear to be dominated by dark matter, making them excellent objects to study to further our understanding of this elusive substance. However, due to an underrepresentation in galactic surveys — caused by their characteristic low brightness — their importance has only been realized relatively recently.

Text credit: European Space Agency
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt


Canibalistic galaxy
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The elegant simplicity of NGC 4111, seen here in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, hides a more violent history than you might think. NGC 4111 is a lenticular, or lens-shaped, galaxy about 50 million light-years from us in the constellation of Canes Venatici (The Hunting Dogs).

Lenticular galaxies are an intermediate type of galaxy between an elliptical and a spiral. They host aged stars like ellipticals and have a disk like a spiral. However, that’s where the similarities end: They differ from ellipticals because they have a bulge and a thin disk, but are different from spirals because lenticular discs contain very little gas and dust, and do not feature the many-armed structure that is characteristic of spiral galaxies. In this image we see the disc of NGC 4111 edge-on, so it appears as a thin sliver of light on the sky.

At first sight, NGC 4111 looks like a fairly uneventful galaxy, but there are unusual features that suggest it is not such a peaceful place. Running through its center, at right angles to the thin disk, is a series of filaments, silhouetted against the bright core of the galaxy. These are made of dust, and astronomers think they are associated with a ring of material encircling the galaxy’s core. Since it is not aligned with the galaxy’s main disc, it is possible that this polar ring of gas and dust is actually the remains of a smaller galaxy that was swallowed up by NGC 4111 long ago.

Text credit: European Space Agency
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt
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Re: The Photography Thread

Postby IronDog » Tue May 10, 2016 8:05 am

And a case study:
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Despite being less famous than their elliptical
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This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows an elliptical galaxy called NGC 2865. It lies just over 100 million light-years away from us in the constellation of Hydra — The Sea Serpent — and was discovered in 1835 by astronomer John Herschel.

Elliptical galaxies are usually filled with old, dying stars. NGC 2865, however, is relatively youthful and dynamic, with a rapidly rotating disc full of young stars and metal-rich gas. For an elliptical galaxy it contains an unusually high number of young stars — suggesting that a galaxy-wide starburst took place about one billion years ago.

The starburst itself was induced by a merger between a spiral galaxy, similar to our galaxy, the Milky Way, and an elliptical galaxy some three times more massive — the progenitor galaxy of NGC 2865. The new gas from the spiral galaxy revitalised the dying population of old stars in the elliptical galaxy, and several new generations of stars were born.

The faint halo surrounding the galaxy, visible in this image, is also a result of this merger. It consists of cold gas that was ripped away from the spiral galaxy during the merging process. The gas now forms an almost closed shell around its host galaxy.

A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Judy Schmidt.


and spiral
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The bright galaxy NGC 3810 demonstrates classical spiral structure in this very detailed image from Hubble. The bright central region is thought to be forming many new stars and is outshining the outer areas of the galaxy by some margin. Further out the galaxy displays strikingly rich dust clouds along its spiral arms. A close look shows that Hubble’s sharp vision also allows many individual stars to be seen. Hot young blue stars show up in giant clusters far from the centre and the arms are also littered with bright red giant stars.

The original images were acquired by astronomers studying a supernova discovered late in the year 2000. It was the second supernova found in the galaxy in quick succession following another discovered in 1997. NGC 3810 is located about 50 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Leo (the lion). It was discovered by William Herschel in 1784 and is easily seen as a faint smudge in small telescopes.

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys captured this image of NGC 3810. It was observed through three filters letting through blue, green and near-infrared list respectively (F435W, F555W and F814W). The exposure times were about seven minutes per filter and the field of view is about 3.4 x 1.7 arcminutes.

Credit:

ESA/Hubble and NASA


galactic cousins, irregular dwarf galaxies https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irregular_galaxy, such as the one captured in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, are actually one of the most common types of galaxy in the universe. Known as UGC 4459, this dwarf galaxy is located approximately 11 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear), a constellation that is also home to the Pinwheel Galaxy (M101)
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This new Hubble image reveals the gigantic Pinwheel galaxy, one of the best known examples of "grand design spirals", and its supergiant star-forming regions in unprecedented detail. The image is the largest and most detailed photo of a spiral galaxy ever released from Hubble.

Giant galaxies weren't assembled in a day. Neither was this Hubble Space Telescope image of the face-on spiral galaxy Messier 101 (the Pinwheel Galaxy). It is the largest and most detailed photo of a spiral galaxy beyond the Milky Way that has ever been publicly released from Hubble. The galaxy's portrait is actually composed from 51 individual Hubble exposures, in addition to elements from images from ground-based photos. The final composite image measures a whopping 16,000 by 12,000 pixels.

The Hubble observations that went into assembling this image composite were retrieved from the Hubble archive and were originally acquired for a range of Hubble projects: determining the expansion rate of the universe; studying the formation of star clusters in giant starbirth regions; finding the stars responsible for intense X-ray emission and discovering blue supergiant stars. As an example of the many treasures hiding in this immense image, a group led by K.D. Kuntz (Johns Hopkins University and NASA) recently catalogued nearly 3000 previously undetected star clusters in it.

The giant spiral disk of stars, dust and gas is 170,000 light-years across or nearly twice the diameter of our Milky Way. The galaxy is estimated to contain at least one trillion stars. Approximately 100 billion of these stars alone might be like our Sun in terms of temperature and lifetime. Hubble's high resolution reveals millions of the galaxy's individual stars in this image.

The Pinwheel's spiral arms are sprinkled with large regions of star-forming nebulae. These nebulae are areas of intense star formation within molecular hydrogen clouds. Brilliant young clusters of sizzling newborn blue stars trace out the spiral arms. The disk of the galaxy is so thin that Hubble easily sees many more distant galaxies lying behind the foreground galaxy.

The Pinwheel Galaxy lies in the northern circumpolar constellation, Ursa Major (The Great Bear) at a distance of 25 million light-years from Earth. We are seeing the galaxy from Earth today as it was at the beginning of Earth's Miocene Period when mammals flourished and the Mastodon first appeared on Earth. The galaxy fills an area on the sky of one-fifth the area of the full moon.

The newly composed image was assembled from archived Hubble images taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 over nearly 10 years: in March 1994, September 1994, June 1999, November 2002 and January 2003. The Hubble exposures have been superimposed onto ground-based images, visible at the edge of the image, taken at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in Hawaii, and at the 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, part of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Arizona. Exposures taken through a blue filter are shown in blue, through a green filter in green and through a red filter in red


the Owl Nebula (M97), Messier 81
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The sharpest image ever taken of the large "grand design" spiral galaxy Messier 81 is being released today. The image, constructed from a series of images taken with NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is among the largest ever released. Messier 81 is one of the brightest galaxies that can be seen from the Earth.

The beautiful galaxy Messier 81 is tilted at an oblique angle on to our line of sight, giving a "birds-eye view" of the spiral structure. The galaxy is similar to our Milky Way, but our favourable view provides a better picture of the typical architecture of spiral galaxies. Though the galaxy is 11.6 million light-years away, the vision of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is so sharp that it can resolve individual stars, along with open star clusters, globular star clusters, and even glowing regions of fluorescent gas.

The spiral arms, which wind all the way down into the nucleus, are made up of young, bluish, hot stars formed in the past few million years. They also host a population of stars formed in an episode of star formation that started about 600 million years ago. The greenish regions are dense areas of bright star formation. The ultraviolet light from hot young stars are fluorescing the surrounding clouds of hydrogen gas. A number of sinuous dust lanes also wind all the way into the nucleus of Messier 81.

The galaxy's central bulge contains much older, redder stars. It is significantly larger than the Milky Way's bulge. The central black hole is 70 million solar masses, or 15 times the mass of the Milky Way's black hole. Previous Hubble research shows that the size of the central black hole in a galaxy is proportional to the mass of a galaxy's bulge.

Messier 81 may be undergoing a surge of star formation along the spiral arms due to a close encounter it may have had with its nearby spiral galaxy NGC 3077 and a nearby starburst galaxy (Messier 82) about 300 million years ago. Astronomers plan to use the Hubble image to study the star formation history of the galaxy and how this history relates to the neutron stars and black holes seen in X-ray observations of Messier 81 with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Messier 81 is one of the brightest galaxies that can be seen from the Earth. It is high in the northern sky in the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear. At an apparent magnitude of 6.8 it is just at the limit of naked-eye visibility. The galaxy's angular size is about the same as that of the Full Moon.

The Hubble data was taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys in 2004 through 2006. The colour composite measures 22,620 x 15,200 pixels and was assembled from images taken in blue, visible, and infrared light. It was released today at the American Astronomical Society Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.


Messier 82
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To celebrate the NASA-ESA Hubble Space Telescope's 16 years of success, the two space agencies are releasing this mosaic image of the magnificent starburst galaxy, Messier 82 (M82). It is the sharpest wide-angle view ever obtained of M82, a galaxy remarkable for its webs of shredded clouds and flame-like plumes of glowing hydrogen blasting out from its central regions.

Throughout the central region of Messier 82, young stars are being born 10 times faster than they are inside in our Milky Way Galaxy. These numerous hot new stars emit not only radiation but also particles called a stellar wind. Stellar winds streaming from these hot new stars also have combined to form a fierce galactic superwind. This superwind compresses enough gas to make millions more stars and blasts out towering plumes of hot ionised hydrogen gas, above and below the disk of the galaxy (seen in red in the image).

In M82 young stars are crammed into tiny but massive star clusters which themselves then congregate by the dozen to make the bright patches or "starburst clumps" seen in the central parts of M82. The individual clusters in the clumps can only be distinguished in the ultra-sharp Hubble images. Most of the pale objects sprinkled around the main body of M82 that look like fuzzy stars are actually star clusters about 20 light-years across and containing up to a million stars.

The rapid rate of star formation in this galaxy will eventually be self-limiting. When star formation becomes too vigorous, it will destroy the material needed to make more stars and the starburst will subside, probably in a few tens of millions of years.

Located 12 million light-years away, M82 appears high in the northern spring sky in the direction of the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear. It is also called the "Cigar Galaxy" because of the elongated elliptical shape produced by the tilt of its starry disk relative to our line of sight.

The observation was made in March 2006 with the Advanced Camera for Surveys' Wide Field Channel. Astronomers assembled this 6-image composite mosaic by combining exposures taken with four coloured filters that capture starlight from visible and infrared wavelengths as well as the light from the glowing hydrogen filaments.

Hubble was launched on April 24, 1990, aboard the space shuttle Discovery.


and several other galaxies all part of the M81 group.

UGC 4459’s diffused and disorganized appearance is characteristic of an irregular dwarf galaxy. Lacking a distinctive structure or shape, irregular dwarf galaxies are often chaotic in appearance, with neither a nuclear bulge — a huge, tightly packed central group of stars — nor any trace of spiral arms — regions of stars extending from the center of the galaxy. Astronomers suspect that some irregular dwarf galaxies were once spiral or elliptical galaxies, but were later deformed by the gravitational pull of nearby objects.

Rich with young blue stars
Image
This image, speckled with blue, white, and yellow light, shows part of the spiral galaxy IC 5052. Surrounded by distant stars and galaxies, it emits a bright blue-white glow which highlights its narrow, intricate structure. It is viewed side-on in the constellation of Pavo (The Peacock), in the southern sky.

When spiral galaxies are viewed from this angle, it is very difficult to fully understand their properties and how they are arranged. IC 5052 is actually a barred spiral galaxy – its pinwheeling arms do not begin from the centre point but are instead attached to either end of a straight "bar" of stars that cuts through the galaxy's middle. Approximately two thirds of all spirals are barred, including the Milky Way.

Bursts of pale blue light are visible across the galaxy's length, partially blocked out by weaving lanes of darker gas and dust. These are pockets of extremely hot newborn stars. The bars present in spirals like IC 5052 are thought to help these formation processes by effectively funnelling material from the swirling arms inwards towards these hot stellar nurseries.

A version of this image was submitted to the Hubble's Hidden Treasures http://www.spacetelescope.org/hiddentreasures/ (FYI: This link has some nice stuff, including videos, galleries, and good info) image processing competition by contestant Serge Meunier.

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA
and older red stars, UGC 4459 has a stellar population of several billion. Though seemingly impressive, this is small when compared to the 200 to 400 billion stars in the Milky Way!

Observations with Hubble have shown that because of their low masses of dwarf galaxies like UGC 4459, star formation is very low compared to larger galaxies. Only very little of their original gas has been turned into stars. Thus, these small galaxies are interesting to study to better understand primordial environments and the star formation process.

Text Credit: ESA (European Space Agency)
Image Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA; Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt
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