Sunday, May 18, 2008


Tom King
Image taken:
May. 15, 2008
Watauga, Texas, USA
After seeing the beautiful solar pollen corona posted by Reinhard Nitze in Germany on today, I was astounded to see a colorful corona around the moon later the same evening in Texas! To borrow a line, "It appears the same pollen that makes you sneeze, and produces a solar corona, can also make a corona around the moon as well. Only this time when you sneeze...' Gesundheit! '...look for coronas near the moon too." Photo details: Canon EOS Digital Rebel, 400 ASA, 2s exposure.


siamak sabet
Image taken:
Mar. 30, 2008
Photo details: Canon EOS 350D digital camera Iso: 100 Tel: 66mm Apo Exposure Time: 5s


Mustafa Erol
Image taken:
May. 15, 2008
First image: Canon EOS 350D digital camera, 200 ISO, 70mm APO DG lens, f/4 and 5s exposure. Next image: Canon EOS 350D digital camera, 100 ISO, 70mm APO DG lens, f/4 and 2,5s exposure.


Lovely sunset over some hills close to my home in Manchester UK. A solar pillar was visible as the Sun got close to the hill. Image taken by Pentax Optio S50 digital camera.


Erno Berko, Ludanyhalaszi, HUNGARYNov. 20, 2007
Perseus and the Medusa. The beautiful comet 17P near the Mirfak. The sky is very bright (80% Moon). 19:00(UT) The image made with 100mm/f6 refractor and Canon 350D camera. 10x80sec in IRIS.


Bill Williams, Chiefland Astronomy Village, FloridaNov. 9, 2007
Comet Holmes Swallows Star" - a mere snack! This comet consumed a whole GALAXY, magnitude 17.2 PGC 166473 on Nov. 9, 2007 as seen in image #1. This distant galaxy resides at a distance of 200 million LIGHT YEARS shining feebly through the blue-green coma of Holmes at a neighborly distance of about 200 million MILES! Image #2 defines the field of image #1 (yellow box) when the tail detached approaching the star 34 Persei. Image #3 is a Sky Tools chart with Holmes' coma superimposed at the time it transited the PGC galaxy. Images were taken with 6-inch Astro-Physics refractor and STL-11K CCD camera.


Martin Wagner, Sonnenbuehl-Genkingen, GermanyNov. 20, 2007


Today the moon was very bright. It was not easy to see the comet Holmes with the necked eyes. So, I create one picture of the moon and one of comet Holmes and create one out of two. Canon EOS 20D, focus distance 100/1000 refractor and 80/600 refractor. Moon 100 ASA/125 secondes, Comet Holmes 1600 ASA, 60 secondes Kind regards G√ľnther

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Europa, a moon of Jupiter, appears as a thick crescent in this enhanced-color image from NASA's Galileo spacecraft, which has been orbiting Jupiter since 1995.The view combines images taken in violet, green and near-infrared filters in 1998 and 1995. The colors have been stretched to show the subtle differences in materials that cover the icy surface of Europa. Reddish linear features are some of the cracks and ridges, thousands of kilometers long, which are caused by the tides raised by the gravitational pull of Jupiter. Mottled, reddish "chaotic terrain" exists where the surface has been disrupted and ice blocks have moved around. The red material at the ridges and chaotic terrain is a non-ice contaminant and could be salts brought up from a possible ocean beneath Europa's frozen surface.


Recent Cassini images of Saturn's moon Enceladus backlit by the sun show the fountain-like sources of the fine spray of material that towers over the south polar region. The image was taken looking more or less broadside at the "tiger stripe" fractures observed in earlier Enceladus images. It shows discrete plumes of a variety of apparent sizes above the limb of the moon. The greatly enhanced and colorized image shows the enormous extent of the fainter, larger-scale component of the plume.


This global view of the surface of Venus is centered at 0 degrees east longitude. Magellan synthetic aperture radar mosaics from the first cycle of Magellan mapping are mapped onto a computer-simulated globe to create this image. Data gaps are filled with Pioneer Venus Orbiter data, or a constant mid-range value. Simulated color is used to enhance small-scale structure. The simulated hues are based on color images recorded by the Soviet Venera 13 and 14 spacecraft. The image was produced by the Solar System Visualization project and the Magellan Science team at the JPL Multimission Image Processing Laboratory, and is a single frame from a video released at the October 29, 1991, JPL news conference.


This image shows an extreme close-up of round, blueberry-shaped formations in the martian soil near a part of the rock outcrop at Meridiani Planum called Stone Mountain. Scientists are studying these curious formations for clues about the area's past environmental conditions. The image, one of the highest resolution images ever taken by the microscopic imager, an instrument located on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's instrument deployment device or "arm."


This image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows "Victoria crater," an impact crater at Meridiani Planum, near the equator of Mars. The crater is approximately 800 meters (half a mile) in diameter. It has a distinctive scalloped shape to its rim, caused by erosion and downhill movement of crater wall material. Layered sedimentary rocks are exposed along the inner wall of the crater, and boulders that have fallen from the crater wall are visible on the crater floor. The floor of the crater is occupied by a striking field of sand dunes.


Saturn's A Ring From the Inside Out. The best view of Saturn's rings in the ultraviolet indicates there is more ice toward the outer part of the rings, than in the inner part, hinting at the origins of the rings and their evolution.


This photo shows the famous "Horsehead Nebula", which is situated in the Orion molecular cloud complex. Its official name is Barnard 33 and it is a dust protrusion in the southern region of the dense dust cloud Lynds 1630, on the edge of the HII region IC 434. The distance to the region is about 1400 light-years (430 pc).This beautiful colour image was produced from three images obtained with the multi-mode FORS2 instrument at the second VLT Unit Telescope (KUEYEN), some months after it had "First Light". The image files were extracted from the VLT Science Archive Facility and the photo constitutes a fine example of the subsequent use of such valuable data.


At the center of the most violent starburst region in the local universe lies a cluster of brilliant, massive stars, known to astronomers as Hodge 301.Hodge 301, seen in the lower right hand corner of this image, lives inside the Tarantula Nebula in our nearest galactic neighbor, the Large Magellanic Cloud.This star cluster is not the brightest, or youngest, or most populous star cluster in the Tarantula Nebula -- that honor goes to the spectacular R136. In fact, Hodge 301 is almost 10 times older than the young cluster R136.


This dazzling infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows hundreds of thousands of stars crowded into the swirling core of our spiral Milky Way galaxy. In visible-light pictures, this region cannot be seen at all because dust lying between Earth and the galactic center blocks our view.


AS11-44-6689 Date Taken: 07/20/69 One-third of the Earth's sphere illuminated, Earth's terminator, sunglint, a portion of East Africa, as photographed from the Apollo 11 spacecraft during its lunar landing mission.


A Moment Frozen in Time. On May 19th, 2005, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit captured this stunning view as the Sun sank below the rim of Gusev crater on Mars. This Panoramic Camera (Pancam) mosaic was taken around 6:07 in the evening of the rover's 489th martian day, or sol. Spirit was commanded to stay awake briefly after sending that sol's data to the Mars Odyssey orbiter just before sunset. This small panorama of the western sky was obtained using Pancam's 750-nanometer, 530-nanometer and 430-nanometer color filters. This filter combination allows false color images to be generated that are similar to what a human would see, but with the colors slightly exaggerated. In this image, the bluish glow in the sky above the Sun would be visible to us if we were there, but an artifact of the Pancam's infrared imaging capabilities is that with this filter combination the redness of the sky farther from the sunset is exaggerated compared to the daytime colors of the martian sky. Because Mars is farther from the Sun than the Earth is, the Sun appears only about two-thirds the size that it appears in a sunset seen from the Earth. The terrain in the foreground is the rock outcrop "Jibsheet", a feature that Spirit has been investigating for several weeks (rover tracks are dimly visible leading up to "Jibsheet"). The floor of Gusev crater is visible in the distance, and the Sun is setting behind the wall of Gusev some 80 km (50 miles) in the distance.


This is an image of MyCn18, a young planetary nebula located about 8,000 light-years away, taken with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST). This Hubble image reveals the true shape of MyCn18 to be an hourglass with an intricate pattern of "etchings" in its walls. This picture has been composed from three separate images taken in the light of ionized nitrogen (represented by red), hydrogen (green), and doubly-ionized oxygen (blue). The results are of great interest because they shed new light on the poorly understood ejection of stellar matter which accompanies the slow death of Sun-like stars. In previous ground-based images, MyCn18 appears to be a pair of large outer rings with a smaller central one, but the fine details cannot be seen.


This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image shows one of the most complex planetary nebulae ever seen, NGC 6543, nicknamed the "Cat's Eye Nebula." Hubble reveals surprisingly intricate structures including concentric gas shells, jets of high-speed gas and unusual shock-induced knots of gas. Estimated to be 1,000 years old, the nebula is a visual "fossil record" of the dynamics and late evolution of a dying star.


This dramatic NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, showing 10 times more detail, reveals the "ant's" body as a pair of fiery lobes protruding from a dying, Sun-like star.


The graceful, winding arms of the majestic spiral galaxy M51 (NGC 5194) appear like a grand spiral staircase sweeping through space. They are actually long lanes of stars and gas laced with dust.This sharpest-ever image of the Whirlpool Galaxy, taken in January 2005 with the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, illustrates a spiral galaxy's grand design, from its curving spiral arms, where young stars reside, to its yellowish central core, a home of older stars. The galaxy is nicknamed the Whirlpool because of its swirling structure.The Whirlpool's most striking feature is its two curving arms, a hallmark of so-called grand-design spiral galaxies. Many spiral galaxies possess numerous, loosely shaped arms which make their spiral structure less pronounced. These arms serve an important purpose in spiral galaxies. They are star-formation factories, compressing hydrogen gas and creating clusters of new stars. In the Whirlpool, the assembly line begins with the dark clouds of gas on the inner edge, then moves to bright pink star-forming regions, and ends with the brilliant blue star clusters along the outer edge.


This simulated image was constructed from the measured optical depth profiles. It depicts the observed ring structure at about 10 kilometers (6 miles) in resolution. Color is used to represent information about ring particle sizes in different regions based on the measured effects of the three radio signals.Purple color indicates regions where there is a lack of particles of size less than 5 centimeters (about 2 inches). Green and blue shades indicate regions where there are particles smaller than 5 centimeters (2 inches) and 1 centimeter (less than one third of one inch). The saturated broad white band near the middle of ring B is the densest region of ring B, over which two of the three radio signals were blocked at 10-kilometer (6-mile) resolution, preventing accurate color representation over this band. From other evidence in the radio observations, all ring regions appear to be populated by a broad range particle size distribution that extends to boulder sizes (several to many meters across).


M31 has played a pivotal historical role in astronomy. Early observers saw the soft, foggy patch of glowing light as just another spiral nebula but weren't yet equipped with the knowledge to appreciate its nature. The true nature of M31 began to became clear in 1923. In that year Edwin Hubble, using the just completed 100 inch Hooker telescope at the Mount Wilson observatory, made his monumental discovery of Cepheid Variable stars in M31 and in one stroke forever changed the astronomical paradigm of the universe as we know it. Appropriately interpreting the cepheid data, Hubble was the first to appreciate the faint nebula in Andromeda as an "island universe", an immense galaxy in its own right, similar to our Milky Way. Hubble's work opened the door to the modern interpretation of the universe which we now know consists of countless galaxies all receding from each other. M31 has the distinction of being the nearest of all spirals at a distance of 2.5 million light years. Its disk, tilted toward earth by some 13 degrees, exposes the grandeur of its spiral structure and star systems to telescopic exploration.


In its first glimpse of the heavens following the successful December 1999 servicing mission, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured a majestic view of a planetary nebula, the glowing remains of a dying, Sun-like star. This stellar relic, first spied by William Herschel in 1787, is nicknamed the "Eskimo" Nebula (NGC 2392) because, when viewed through ground-based telescopes, it resembles a face surrounded by a fur parka. In this Hubble telescope image, the "parka" is really a disk of material embellished with a ring of comet-shaped objects, with their tails streaming away from the central, dying star. The Eskimo's "face" also contains some fascinating details. Although this bright central region resembles a ball of twine, it is, in reality, a bubble of material being blown into space by the central star's intense "wind" of high-speed material.


NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has trained its razor-sharp eye on one of the universe's most stately and photogenic galaxies, the Sombrero galaxy, Messier 104 (M104). The galaxy's hallmark is a brilliant white, bulbous core encircled by the thick dust lanes comprising the spiral structure of the galaxy. As seen from Earth, the galaxy is tilted nearly edge-on. We view it from just six degrees south of its equatorial plane. This brilliant galaxy was named the Sombrero because of its resemblance to the broad rim and high-topped Mexican hat.


A Perfect Storm - Resembling the fury of a raging sea, this image actually shows a bubbly ocean of glowing hydrogen gas and small amounts of other elements such as oxygen and sulfur.The photograph, taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, captures a small region within M17, a hotbed of star formation. M17, also known as the Omega or Swan Nebula, is located about 5,500 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius. The image is being released to commemorate the thirteenth anniversary of Hubble's launch on April 24, 1990.


Astronaut Bruce McCandless, II, mission specialist, uses his hands to control his movement in space while using the nitrogen propelled manned maneuvering unit (MMU). He is participating in a extravehicular activity (EVA), a few meters away from the cabin of the shuttle Challenger. McCandless is centered in a background of clouds and earth in this view of his EVA. He is floating without tethers attaching him to the shuttle.Date Taken: February 23, 1984 Credits: JSC NASA


This dramatic image offers a peek inside a cavern of roiling dust and gas where thousands of stars are forming. The image, taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, represents the sharpest view ever taken of this region, called the Orion Nebula. More than 3,000 stars of various sizes appear in this image. Some of them have never been seen in visible light. These stars reside in a dramatic dust-and-gas landscape of plateaus, mountains, and valleys that are reminiscent of the Grand Canyon.


In 1995, the majestic spiral galaxy NGC 4414 was imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope as part of the HST Key Project on the Extragalactic Distance Scale. An international team of astronomers, led by Dr. Wendy Freedman of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, observed this galaxy on 13 different occasions over the course of two months.


This NASA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) image reveals a pair of one-half light-year long interstellar “twisters” — eerie funnels and twisted-rope structures — in the heart of the Lagoon Nebula (Messier 8) which lies 5,000 light-years away in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius.The central hot star, O Herschel 36 (lower right), is the primary source of the ionizing radiation for the brightest region in the nebula, called the Hourglass. Other hot stars, also present in the nebula, are ionizing the extended optical nebulosity. The ionizing radiation induces photo-evaporation of the surfaces of the clouds and drives away violent stellar winds tearing into the cool clouds.


Hurricane Katrina regional imagery, 2005.08.28 at 1515Z. Centerpoint Latitude: 26:13:59N Longitude: 88:08:03W. Hurricane Katrina is currently located south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.Observation Device: GOES-12 1 km visible imagery. Visualization Date: August 28, 2005 12:32:28 Credits: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-NOAA.


This image of Earth’s city lights was created with data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Operational Linescan System (OLS). Originally designed to view clouds by moonlight, the OLS is also used to map the locations of permanent lights on the Earth’s surface.The brightest areas of the Earth are the most urbanized, but not necessarily the most populated. (Compare western Europe with China and India.) Cities tend to grow along coastlines and transportation networks. Even without the underlying map, the outlines of many continents would still be visible. The United States interstate highway system appears as a lattice connecting the brighter dots of city centers. In Russia, the Trans-Siberian railroad is a thin line stretching from Moscow through the center of Asia to Vladivostok. The Nile River, from the Aswan Dam to the Mediterranean Sea, is another bright thread through an otherwise dark region.Even more than 100 years after the invention of the electric light, some regions remain thinly populated and unlit. Antarctica is entirely dark. The interior jungles of Africa and South America are mostly dark, but lights are beginning to appear there. Deserts in Africa, Arabia, Australia, Mongolia, and the United States are poorly lit as well (except along the coast), along with the boreal forests of Canada and Russia, and the great mountains of the Himalaya.


View of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew traveling toward the moon. This translunar coast photograph extends from the Meditierranean Sea area to the Antarctica south polar ice cap. This is the first time the Apollo trajectory made it possible to photograph the south polar ice cap.Note the heavy cloud cover in the southern hemisphere. Almost the entire coastline of Africa is clearly visible. The Arabian Peninsula can be seen at the northeastern edge of Africa. The large island off the coast of Africa is the Malagasy Republic. The Asian mainland is on the horizon toward the northeast.


Pillars of Creation. Undersea corral? Enchanted castles? Space serpents? These eerie, dark pillar-like structures are actually columns of cool interstellar hydrogen gas and dust that are also incubators for new stars. The pillars protrude from the interior wall of a dark molecular cloud like stalagmites from the floor of a cavern. They are part of the "Eagle Nebula" (also called M16 -- the 16th object in Charles Messier's 18th century catalog of "fuzzy" objects that aren't comets), a nearby star-forming region 7,000 light-years away in the constellation Serpens.


This majestic false-color image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the "mountains" where stars are born. Dubbed "Mountains of Creation" by Spitzer scientists, these towering pillars of cool gas and dust are illuminated at their tips with light from warm embryonic stars.


With giant Saturn hanging in the blackness and sheltering Cassini from the sun's blinding glare, the spacecraft viewed the rings as never before, revealing previously unknown faint rings and even glimpsing its home world.This marvelous panoramic view was created by combining a total of 165 images taken by the Cassini wide-angle camera over nearly three hours on Sept. 15, 2006. The full mosaic consists of three rows of nine wide-angle camera footprints; only a portion of the full mosaic is shown here. Color in the view was created by digitally compositing ultraviolet, infrared and clear filter images and was then adjusted to resemble natural color.


This spectacular “blue marble” image is the most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date. Using a collection of satellite-based observations, scientists and visualizers stitched together months of observations of the land surface, oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless, true-color mosaic of every square kilometer (.386 square mile) of our planet.


The rising Earth is about five degrees above the lunar horizon in this telephoto view taken from the Apollo 8 spacecraft near 110 degrees east longitude. The horizon, about 570 kilometers (250 statute miles) from the spacecraft, is near the eastern limb of the Moon as viewed from the Earth. On the earth, the sunset terminator crosses Africa. The south pole is in the white area near the left end of the terminator. North and South America are under the clouds.


Fountains of multimillion-degree, electrified gas in the atmosphere of the Sun have revealed the location where the solar atmosphere is heated to temperatures 300 times greater than the Sun's visible surface.


This stunning image shows remarkable and mysterious details near the dark central region of a planet-sized sunspot in one of the sharpest views ever of the surface of the Sun.


Fountains of multimillion-degree, electrified gas in the atmosphere of the Sun have revealed the location where the solar atmosphere is heated to temperatures 300 times greater than the Sun's visible surface.Scientists discovered this important clue for solving the long-standing mystery of the hot solar atmosphere while observing the gas fountains (known as coronal loops) in unprecedented detail with NASA's Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) spacecraft. Scientists are interested in the Sun's outer atmosphere, called the corona, because eruptive events occurring in this region can disrupt high-technology systems on Earth. Moreover, studies of the solar corona will help astronomers better understand other stars, which cannot be observed in as fine detail as the Sun.


Here Comes The Sun. This photo shows the major solar flare of October 28, 2003 as it occurred. Active region 10486 played up a spectacular show in the morning on Tuesday 28 October 2003. An X 17.2 flare, the second largest flare observed by SOHO, was setting off a strong high energy proton event and a fast-moving Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). The CME hit the Earth at 1 a.m. EST Wednesday the 29th about 19 hours after it left the Sun. NOAA space weather officials classified the geomagnetic storm as a G-5 or "extreme" on a scale that runs 1 to 5.


Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT) image of a huge, handle-shaped prominence taken on September 14,1999 in the 304 angstrom wavelength. Prominences are huge clouds of relatively cool dense plasma suspended in the Sun's hot, thin corona. At times, they can erupt,escaping the Sun's atmosphere. Emission in this spectral line shows the upper chromosphere at a temperature of about 60,000 degrees K. Every feature in the image traces magnetic field structure. The hottest areas appear almost white, while the darker red areas indicate cooler temperatures.


The Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has used a natural "zoom lens" in space to boost its view of the distant universe. Besides offering an unprecedented and dramatic new view of the cosmos, the results promise to shed light on galaxy evolution and dark matter in space.Hubble peered straight through the center of one of the most massive galaxy clusters known, called Abell 1689. This required that Hubble gaze at the distant cluster, located 2.2 billion light-years away, for over 13 hours. The gravity of the cluster's trillion stars — plus dark matter — acts as a 2-million-light-year-wide "lens" in space. This "gravitational lens" bends and magnifies the light of galaxies located far behind it.


Resembling a rippling pool illuminated by underwater lights, the Egg Nebula offers astronomers a special look at the normally invisible dust shells swaddling an aging star. These dust layers, extending over one-tenth of a light-year from the star, have an onionskin structure that forms concentric rings around the star. A thicker dust belt, running almost vertically through the image, blocks off light from the central star. Twin beams of light radiate from the hidden star and illuminate the pitch-black dust, like a shining flashlight in a smoky room.The artificial "Easter-Egg" colors in this image are used to dissect how the light reflects off the smoke-sized dust particles and then heads toward Earth.Dust in our atmosphere reflects sunlight such that only light waves vibrating in a certain orientation get reflected toward us. This is also true for reflections off water or roadways. Polarizing sunglasses take advantage of this effect to block out all reflections, except those that align to the polarizing filter material. It's a bit like sliding a sheet of paper under a door. The paper must be parallel to the floor to pass under the door.


This is a series of images of Saturn, as seen at many different wavelengths (ultraviolet shown), when the planet's rings were at a maximum tilt of 27 degrees toward Earth. Saturn experiences seasonal tilts away from and toward the Sun, much the same way Earth does. This happens over the course of its 29.5-year orbit. This means that approximately every 30 years, Earth observers can catch their best glimpse of Saturn's South Pole and the southern side of the planet's rings. Between March and April 2003, researchers took full advantage to study the gas giant at maximum tilt. They used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to capture detailed images of Saturn's Southern Hemisphere and the southern face of its rings.


In one of the largest and most detailed celestial images ever made, the coil-shaped Helix Nebula is being unveiled tomorrow in celebration of Astronomy Day (Saturday, May 10).The composite picture is a seamless blend of ultra-sharp NASA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images combined with the wide view of the Mosaic Camera on the National Science Foundation's 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, part of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, near Tucson, Ariz. Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute assembled these images into a mosaic. The mosaic was then blended with a wider photograph taken by the Mosaic Camera. The image shows a fine web of filamentary "bicycle-spoke" features embedded in the colorful red and blue gas ring, which is one of the nearest planetary nebulae to Earth.