A journey across the stars and heavens through antiquated astronomical diagrams.
I unearthed some dusty old scientific textbooks in my father’s attic, and immediately became inspired by the delicately rendered diagrams, plots and schemata. These purely scientific visual aids became unwitting artworks on their own, which is something I really loved.
The short animation explores pathways through astronomy’s roots, dating back to antiquity with its origins in scientific, mythological and astrological practices.
The soundtrack is ‘Frosti’ by Bjork, from the incredible album ‘Vespertine’.
Without exaggeration, this is one of the most amazing and beautiful videos I have ever seen. The full-screen 720p version is mind-blowing.
Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the sun. During its five-year mission, it will examine the sun’s atmosphere, magnetic field and also provide a better understanding of the role the sun plays in Earth’s atmospheric chemistry and climate. SDO provides images with resolution 8 times better than high-definition television and returns more than a terabyte of data each day.
On June 5 2012, SDO collected images of the rarest predictable solar event—the transit of Venus across the face of the sun. This event happens in pairs eight years apart that are separated from each other by 105 or 121 years. The last transit was in 2004 and the next will not happen until 2117.
The videos and images displayed here are constructed from several wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light and a portion of the visible spectrum. The red colored sun is the 304 angstrom ultraviolet, the golden colored sun is 171 angstrom, the magenta sun is 1700 angstrom, and the orange sun is filtered visible light. 304 and 171 show the atmosphere of the sun, which does not appear in the visible part of the spectrum.
In about 25 minutes, Venus will pass in front of the Sun (from the perspective of us humans here on Earth), in a rare occurrence called a “transit of Venus.” There won’t be another event like this for 105 years. Here’s a Google+ chat video from Universe Today, that will feature live views of this event from specially equipped telescopes.
(h/t: Phil Plait.)
Using the European Space Agency’s infrared Herschel Space Observatory, astronomer Sergio Molinari discovered a gigantic Moebius Strip at the center of our galaxy: Milky Way’s Core Hides Big Twisted Ribbon.
A space telescope peering into the Milky Way galaxy’s dusty core has spied a colossal twisted ribbon of supercooled material.
Until now astronomers had only seen bits and pieces of the ribbon’s 600-light-year-wide superstructure, which resembles the symbol for infinity (∞).
“We have a new and exciting mystery on our hands, right at the center of our own galaxy,” said astronomer Sergio Molinari of the Institute of Space Physics in a press release. Molinari and others describe the strange ribbon in an upcoming Astrophysical Journal Letters study available on arXiv.org.
Astronomers previously studied gas-piercing infrared images of the Milky Way’s cloudy barred core, but they didn’t have photos with resolution high enough to discern the ribbon’s entire structure. Molinari and others found the ring by aiming the European Space Agency’s infrared Herschel Space Observatory toward galactic center.
Phil Plait has a great post on the latest mind-expanding discovery from the Hubble Space Telescope — what may be the most distant galaxy ever observed, at an awe-inspiring distance of 13.2 billion light years from Earth, formed not long after the Big Bang.
The galaxy was found in the infrared Hubble Ultra Deep Field, or HUDF, an incredible observation where Hubble pointed at one patch of sky and stared at it for 173,000 seconds: 48 solid hours! After Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 observed it, this supposedly blank patch of sky came alive with thousands upon thousands of distant galaxies, and in fact the last record-breaking galaxy was found in the image. The picture here shows the whole HUDF image, with the first picture at the top of this post outlined. Click it to see it in full size, and you’ll start to get an appreciation of just how freaking tough these observations are. The sky is full of faint galaxies!
This new discovery was found using what’s called the dropout technique. It works in a clever way: hot stars inside a galaxy can produce ultraviolet light that can ionize hydrogen, that is, remove the electron from a hydrogen atom. So if there is a cloud of hydrogen atoms between you and a galaxy filled with such hot stars, the UV light you see from that galaxy is absorbed handily by that gas, and you don’t see the galaxy. However, visible light can pass through the gas, so if you use filters to observe the galaxy, you’ll see it in the red filter, the green filter, the blue filter, but then pop! In the UV filter it’s gone. The galaxy has dropped out of sight.