As Summer approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, we can look forward to enjoying more of the sun’s warmth and light. It is this light that allows to record pictures. This video from NASA distils 3 year’s of sun watching by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) into 3 minutes, at a pace of two images per day.
00:30 Partial eclipse by the moon
00:31 Roll maneuver
01:11 August 9, 2011 X6.9 Flare, currently the largest of this solar cycle
01:28 Comet Lovejoy, December 15, 2011
01:42 Roll Maneuver
01:51 Transit of Venus, June 5, 2012
02:28 Partial eclipse by the moon
The Hubble Space Telescope, launched on April 24, 1990, has returned many stunning images of the cosmos. To celebrate its 23rd year, NASA used it to take a new — and stunning — infrared photo of the iconic Horsehead Nebula. The infrared photo was taken by the telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 installed by spacewalking astronauts in 2009. The Hubble is expected to continue operating through April 2016. Its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, is optimized to view in infrared light and is slated to blast off in 2018.
It only happens twice a century and, if you missed it, then regale yourself on this video as the next one is 105 years away, in the year 2117.
This video from NASA/SDO is beautiful but what I don’t understand is how Venus can look transparent as it transits across the sun. Optical illusion, perfectly legitimate scientific explanation or just a little bit of digital manipulation as the transit is superimposed on different pre-existing videos of the sun?
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Imagine taking a picture of a scene that required a long exposure that strayed into hours, say 50 days (or a total exposure of 2 million seconds). Fortunately, it was not one long exposure but more than 2,000 images taken over the course of 10 years, staring at the same tiny patch of southern sky. The eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) contains about 5,500 galaxies with the faintest galaxies at about one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see.
“The XDF is the deepest image of the sky ever obtained and reveals the faintest and most distant galaxies ever seen. XDF allows us to explore further back in time than ever before”
Read the article at: NASA.
What if you were responsible for taking the first photos on the moon? Remember, it was not the digital age yet but you still had a hundred or so of film frames available in the special extra large Kodak film magazine (that allowed 160 pictures in color or 200 on black/white on 70mm film) of your specially fitted for the moon Hasselblad 500EL medium frame camera (fitted with a Zeiss Planar 60mm lens).
NASA has released the first photos taken on the Moon, including a panorama. Neil Armstrong took the famous photo of Buzz Aldrin standing by the American flag. Aldrin then takes the iconic photo of his boot print on the lunar soil.
Yet, none of them remembers who took the Earth photo above the lunar module. You’d think that this would be a WOW moment that would have stayed in your mind forever. Guess, they were more snap shooting than “setting up their tripod and waiting for the right light and moment.”
There is uncertainty about which astronaut took the pictures of Earth above the lunar module. Neil may have borrowed the camera briefly from Buzz but neither one can confirm this.
View the photos at: NASA.
Turns out it’s not only cameras that are powered by Android. NASA are building and sending into space small satellites powered by Google’s Nexus One smartphones. The PhoneSat Project makes extensive use of commercial-off-the-shelf components, and the smartphone acts as the satellite’s on-board computer.
Who knows, maybe one day NASA may start using off-the-shelf digital cameras which already have built-in image sensors, image stabilization, scene modes [need to add: SPACE scene mode], weather-resistance and smart CPUs.
Read the article at: NASA.