Thursday, September 25, 2008

Favorite Astronomy Photos

Here are a few of my favorite astronomy photos:

This photo, "Quad Sky," was taken at the Great Salt Lake. Venus, the moon, and Jupiter (left to right) are above the people. The light on the right side of the photo is an airplane. The star Spica is also in the photo below Venus but you need a larger size picture to see it. (Try clicking on it for the larger size) The reason I liked this photo was that it was taken near here and because it conveys the peacefulness that accompanies stargazing.

Monument Valley and the constellation Orion. The brightest object on the left is Mars. The next brightest, in the center, is reddish star Betelgeus. Orion's Belt is lined up vertically. Lower and to the right is the Orion Nebula. Above and to the right of the Nebula is the bright blue star Rigel.

This solar eclipse photo was taken during the latest eclipse which occured in August this year. The bright dot to the left of the eclipsed sun is the planet Mercury.

Beautiful Saturn and its rings were photographed by the Cassini space craft in 2004.

This photo is of the "Giant Nebula" or NGC3603 and its stunning star cluster.

These nebula are known as "The Heart and Soul Nebula" located near the contellation Cassiopeia (the W shape).

This is the Orion Nebula. Can you spot the horsehead nebula in the lower left part of the photo?

Part of our local group of galaxies, Andromeda is our "sister" galaxy. Andromeda is found between Cassiopeia and Pegasus (or the Great Square) and can be seen with the naked eye in very dark skies. I had that amazing experience in New Mexico.

Two galaxies, a giant spiral, M81, and a dwarf irregular galaxy, Holmberg IX (that is its true name, I am NOT making this up!). This pair are located in the constellation Ursa Major which includes The Big Dipper.

Galaxy Abell 1689 is one of the most massive galaxy clusters known. The gravity of its trillion stars, plus dark matter, acts like a 2-million-light-year-wide "lens" in space. The gravitational lens bends and magnifies the light of galaxies far behind it. And this photo would be the equivalent of less than a square centimeter on the night sky.


Trillium said...

All of the photos are clickable to see a full screen or larger version. Try it. I hope you say, "WOW!"

Zaphod said...

The thing I like about these pictures is that I was sitting right next to you when you took them.

Jen said...


ufoajrzg - - kinda weird that that would be my verification word with this blog - - an x-file for sure!

Chris said...

Those were pretty sweet pictures. I didn't even know there was an eclipse in August. Dang it. I hate missing something cool like that.

I did a little research on the Cassini spacecraft, and looked at the timeline of when it launched in 1997 and finally made it to Saturn in 2004, a billion miles later. What I also found interesting is that it passed Venus twice, and Earth once, since the Cassini is going in a constant direction, all the while the planets are circling around it. Talk about getting your ducks in a row...

* October 15, 1997 - Cassini-Huygens launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida

* April 26, 1998 - Cassini-Huygens flies by Venus, picking up a boost from the planet's gravity.

* June 24, 1999 - Cassini-Huygens flies by Venus again, getting another "gravity assist."

* August 18, 1999 - Cassini-Huygens gets a third celestial push when it flies by Earth.

* December 30, 2000 - Cassini-Huygens flies by Jupiter, snapping photos and getting a final boost. With Galileo still orbiting the planet, it's the first time two spacecraft have explored the gas giant simultaneously.

* June 11, 2004: Phoebe Flyby
Cassini captured images of Phoebe, Saturn's outermost moon.

* July 1, 2004: Arrived at Planet Saturn

The spacecraft crossed through the large gap between the F Ring and G Ring, about 98,500 miles from Saturn's center.

DebbieLou said...

Nice pictures!

shydandelion said...

Wow. Perhaps, Mom, you helped form the planets. I think that can be the only explaination of why you love the stars so much.