Category Archives: Photography

From heavens above: Elba and a moonlit sea


From NASA’s Earth Observatory, a haunting look from above at Italy’s Mediterranean coast, with the island of Elba in the center between the coast of Tuscany on the left and Corsica on the right. Moonlight gives the sea the appearance of tarnished silver, with currents and ship wakes visible as patterns in the shimmering surface. Click on the image to enlarge, and a much larger version is here:

Astronaut photograph ISS037-E-15305 was acquired on October 17, 2013, with a Nikon D3S digital camera using a 180 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center.

Astronaut photograph ISS037-E-15305 was acquired on October 17, 2013, with a Nikon D3S digital camera using a 180 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center.

Heavens above: Super suns far, far away


From NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day:

BLOG Stella

Massive Stars in NGC 6357
Image Credit & Copyright: CHART32 Team, Processing – Johannes Schedler

Explanation: Massive stars lie within NGC 6357, an expansive emission nebula complex some 6,500 light-years away toward the tail of the constellation Scorpius. In fact, positioned near center in this ground-based close-up of NGC 6357, star cluster Pismis 24 includes some of the most massive stars known in the galaxy, stars with nearly 100 times the mass of the Sun. The nebula’s bright central region also contains dusty pillars of molecular gas, likely hiding massive protostars from the prying eyes of optical instruments. Intricate shapes in the nebula are carved as interstellar winds and energetic radiation from the young and newly forming massive stars clear out the natal gas and dust and power the nebular glow. Enhancing the nebula’s cavernous appearance, narrowband image data was included in this composite color image in a Hubble palette scheme. Emission from sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms is shown in red green and blue hues. The alluring telescopic view spans about 50 light-years at the estimated distance of NGC 6357.

Heavens above!: A cold, sterile goddess in space


While in Roman mythology, Ceres was very much a being of warmth and fecundity, associated with the earth as inventor and goddess of agriculture and the harvest, her modern-day counterpart is associated with the bitter cold and sterility of space.

From NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day:

BLOG Ceres

Dwarf Planet Ceres

Image Credit & License: NASA, JPL-Caltech, UCLA, MPS,DLR,IDA – Composition: Justin Cowar

Explanation: Dwarf planet Ceres is the largest object in the Solar System’s main asteroid belt, with a diameter of about 950 kilometers (590 miles). Ceres is seen here in approximately true color, based on image data from the Dawn spacecraft recorded on May 4, 2015. On that date, Dawn’s orbit stood 13,642 kilometers above the surface of the small world. Two of Ceres’ famous mysterious bright spots at Oxo crater and Haulani crater are near center and center right of this view. Casting a telltale shadow at the bottom is Ceres’ cone-shaped, lonely mountain Ahuna Mons. Presently some 385 kilometers above the Cerean surface, the ion-propelled Dawn spacecraft is now returning images from its closest mapping orbit.

And now for something completely different. . .


Look at life with the eyes of a child.

— German artist and sculptor Kathe Kollwitz

But how do children see the world?

One possible answer comes via PetaPixel:

During a family game of hide-and-seek last year, Dan Iverson and his wife strapped a GoPro camera to their tiny toddler. They then hid themselves and watched the live stream on their phone while the toddler ran around looking for them. What resulted is the adorable 1-minute video above in which you see the world from the toddler’s point of view, and in which you can see the gears turning in the kid’s head as he thinks about where his parents could be hiding.

The results are, indeed, adorable. Even the snitch.

From Dan Iverson:

Toddler GoPro Hide and Seek

Program notes:

Strap a GoPro to your toddler and play Hide & Seek. So much awesome!

Heavens above!: A comet captured in space


From NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day [and click on the link for a larger version]:

BLOG Comet

Comet 67P from Spacecraft Rosetta

Image Credit & Licence: ESA, Rosetta, NAVCAM

Explanation: Spacecraft Rosetta continues to circle and map Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Crossing the inner Solar System for ten years to reach the vicinity of the comet in 2014, the robotic spacecraft continues to image the unusual double-lobed comet nucleus. The featured image, taken one year ago, shows dust and gas escaping from the comet’s nucleus. Although appearing bright here, the comet’s surface reflects only about four percent of impinging visible light, making it as dark as coal. Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko spans about four kilometers in length and has a surface gravity so low that an astronaut could jump off of it. With Rosetta in tow, Comet 67P passed its closest to the Sun last year and is now headed back to the furthest point — just past the orbit of Jupiter.

View from the heavens: Utah’s Great Salt Lake


From NASA’s Earth Observatory, an astronaut’s photo looking down at Utah [click on the image to enlarge, and go to the link for an even larger image]:

Astronaut photograph ISS043-E-123891 was acquired on April 4, 2015, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using a 170 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 43 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by M. Justin Wilkinson, Texas State U., Jacobs Contract at NASA-JSC.

Astronaut photograph ISS043-E-123891 was acquired on April 4, 2015, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using a 170 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 43 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by M. Justin Wilkinson, Texas State U., Jacobs Contract at NASA-JSC.

A celebration of masks, Carnival in Venice


But with as twist this year, thanks to ISIS.

First, a video from Deutsche Welle:

Flight of the Angel opens Venice Carnival

Program notes:

Tens of thousands of people, many of them wearing hand-painted masks and spectacular costumes, gathered in St Mark’s Square for the “flight of the angel,” which marks the traditional opening of the Venice Carnival.

And whence cometh those magnificent masks?

An image of a shop window we captured during a memorable trip to the magnificent city:

30 August 2006, Nikon D70, ISO 320, 31mm 1/50 sec, f4

30 August 2006, Nikon D70, ISO 320, 31mm 1/50 sec, f4