A picture is worth 1000 words or a Billion Stars

Some pictures speak volumes, and some have interesting hidden details that we don’t always see from the outset.  A stunning photo of the Milky Way from Taiwan shows more than meets the eye. At first glance, you might notice the fascinating shot of the Milky Way, and you may even pick up on the fact that the pollution from the distant cities blocks out all stars past a certain point.  The prominence of pollution and light pollution are very present in the image.  The real gem, however, is to notice the blue clusters of light around the rocks.  They are...

Imaging Spotlight: Thor’s Helmet in Space

In Canis Major, nearly 12,000 light years from Earth, lies an emission nebula that always makes me think of a particular comic book character.  NGC 2359 is 30 light years across, and is colloquially known as Thor’s Helmet. The complex structure of Thor’s helmet consists of bubbles and filaments, and is due to a series of bursts from the massive star HD 56925.  This star is a rare Wolf-Rayet star, which consistently expels its outer layers of gas at high velocities, and is characterized by its very high temperature. The blue bubble in the above image is a result of...

The Gold Rush of the Galaxy – Exoplanets

I’ve always been a fan of data visualization.  We have so much raw data in the world that can reveal incredible information about our Universe, and the only thing stopping us is the time to analyse it all.  Sometime data visualizations pop up that really put things into perspective, help us see trends that we didn’t know of before, and offer insights into where we should look in the future.  I feel like I find something amazing that someone has produced on a daily basis, and being able to visualize complex data can give anyone a deeper understanding of the...

The Philae Landing: In 3D and Audio!

It’s been a week since the historic landing of Philae on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and the data keeps coming in.  As an Astronomy communicator, I’m always looking for great visual aids in my Astronomy in Action Shows.  They are more valuable to me than any piece of written news because they illustrate a concept quickly and efficiently.  A picture truly is worth a thousand words. But audio and video can be worth even more! Recently an image of the Philae landing was released, showing two images approximately 2 minutes apart.  This image gives a 3-Dimensional perspective of the comet as the...

Post Eclipse breakdown – Quickest DIY Pinhole Camera ever

Yesterday’s post had me discuss the partial Solar Eclipse that occurred around sunset for most of North America.  The one thing I neglected to mention was regarding safe viewing of it. In reality if you saw the sun with your bare eyes during a partial eclipse, it looks like the sun any other time of day – its bright. Don’t damage your eyes. I found a bit of time in the afternoon to build a pinhole camera, which basically consists of a tube or box with a pinhole in one end and a film or ‘viewing area’ at the other...