Category Archives: Photography

Image of the day: An astronomical Ojo de Dios


The Ojo de Dios, or God’s Eye, is a votive device used by throughout Latin America used as a talisman for both protection and veneration.

The phrase immediately popped into mind when we came across this image from the telescopes of the European Southern Observatory, a remarkable multi-government telescope located at three sites high in the dry, largely cloudless,  Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth.

Backed by the governments of Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and Chile, the ESO hosts a wide array of telescopes, including one officially named the Extremely Large Telescope [a planned Overwhelmingly Large Telescope proved too costly].

Which brings us to the image [click on to enlarge]:

VISTA’s look at the Helix Nebula

ESO’s Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) has captured this unusual view of the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293), a planetary nebula located 700 light-years away. The coloured picture was created from images taken through Y, J and K infrared filters. While bringing to light a rich background of stars and galaxies, the telescope’s infrared vision also reveals strands of cold nebular gas that are mostly obscured in visible images of the Helix.
Credit: ESO/VISTA/J. Emerson. Acknowledgment: Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit

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Image of the day: It’s spectacular, by Jove!


From the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a new image captures the awesome beauty of the giant of our solar system, named after Rome’s king of the gods. Click on the image to enlarge to full spectacularity:

More from NASA:

A multitude of magnificent, swirling clouds in Jupiter’s dynamic North North Temperate Belt is captured in this image from NASA’s Juno spacecraft. Appearing in the scene are several bright-white “pop-up” clouds as well as an anticyclonic storm, known as a white oval.

This color-enhanced image was taken at 1:58 p.m. PDT on Oct. 29, 2018 (4:58 p.m. EDT) as the spacecraft performed its 16th close flyby of Jupiter. At the time, Juno was about 4,400 miles (7,000 kilometers) from the planet’s cloud tops, at a latitude of approximately 40 degrees north.

Citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran created this image using data from the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager.

JunoCam’s raw images are available at www.missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam for the public to peruse and process into image products.

More information about Juno is online at http://www.nasa.gov/juno and http://missionjuno.swri.edu.

Image of the day: A galaxy’s glowing heart


From the venerable Hubble Space Telescope:

From NASA:

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows the unbarred spiral galaxy NGC 5033, located about 40 million light-years away in the constellation of Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs). The galaxy is similar in size to our own galaxy, the Milky Way, at just over 100,000 light-years across. Like in the Milky Way, NGC 5033’s spiral arms are dotted with blue regions, indicating ongoing star formation. The blue patches house hot, young stars in the process of forming, while the older, cooler stars populating the galaxy’s center cause it to appear redder in color.

In contrast to the Milky Way, NGC 5033 is missing a central bar. Instead, it has a bright and energetic core called an active galactic nucleus, which is powered by a supermassive black hole. This active nucleus gives it the classification of a Seyfert galaxy. Due to the ongoing activity, the core of NGC 5033 shines brightly across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. This released energy shows that the central black hole is currently devouring stars, dust and gas getting close to it. As this matter falls onto the supermassive black hole, it radiates in many different wavelengths.

While its relative proximity to Earth makes it an ideal target for professional astronomers to study its active nucleus in more detail, its big apparent size in the night sky and its brightness also make it a beautiful target for amateur astronomers.

Image of the day: A massive solar flare erupts


From NASA:

What’s happened to our Sun? Nothing very unusual — it just threw a filament. Toward the middle of 2012, a long standing solar filament suddenly erupted into space producing an energetic Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). The filament had been held up for days by the Sun’s ever changing magnetic field and the timing of the eruption was unexpected. Watched closely by the Sun-orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory, the resulting explosion shot electrons and ions into the Solar System, some of which arrived at Earth three days later and impacted Earth’s magnetosphere, causing visible aurorae. Loops of plasma surrounding an active region can be seen above the erupting filament in the featured ultraviolet image. Although the Sun is now in a relatively inactive state of its 11-year cycle, unexpected holes have opened in the Sun’s corona allowing an excess of charged particles to stream into space. As before, these charged particles are creating auroras.

Image of the Day: A glowing bubble in space


From NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day, a look at a spectacular vision far, far away [click on the image to enlarge]:

NGC 7635: The Bubble Nebula

Blown by the wind from a massive star, this interstellar apparition has a surprisingly familiar shape. Cataloged as NGC 7635, it is also known simply as The Bubble Nebula. Although it looks delicate, the 7 light-year diameter bubble offers evidence of violent processes at work. Above and left of the Bubble’s center is a hot, O-type star, several hundred thousand times more luminous and some 45 times more massive than the Sun. A fierce stellar wind and intense radiation from that star has blasted out the structure of glowing gas against denser material in a surrounding molecular cloud. The intriguing Bubble Nebula and associated cloud complex lie a mere 7,100 light-years away toward the boastful constellation Cassiopeia. This sharp, tantalizing view of the cosmic bubble is a composite of Hubble Space Telescope image data from 2016, reprocessed to present the nebula’s intense narrowband emission in an approximate true color scheme.

Image of the day: Adding celestial perspective


Dire as things may seem here on Planet Earth, an occasional reminder of our place in the scheme of things seems in order.

From the NASA Image Archive comes a composite view of the Crab nebula, an iconic supernova remnant in our Milky Way galaxy, as viewed by the Herschel Space Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope:

Scenes from a walk in downtown Los Angeles


Thursday was a family day as esnl [behind the lens], daughter Jackie [left] her spouse Krys [right[, his mom, and granddaughter Sadie Rose [melting our heart with s a smile] hit the bricks for a day on the town, starting with a visit to the Broad Museum:

Panasonic DMC-ZS19, 17 February 2017, ISO 1250, 4.3 mm, 1/250 sec, f3.3

Panasonic DMC-ZS19, 17 February 2017, ISO 1250, 4.3 mm, 1/250 sec, f3.3

Right across the street from the Broad is downtown LA’s most striking architectural feature, architect Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall.

We were fortunate in that all traffic to the area had been blocked off because high school students were enjoying a day with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, giving us the rare opportunity to shoot with any traffic:

Panasonic DMC-ZS19, 17 February 2017, ISO 160, 4.4 mm, 1/640 sec, f4

Panasonic DMC-ZS19, 17 February 2017, ISO 160, 4.4 mm, 1/640 sec, f4

Another shot, taken from the entrance of the Broad looking across Second Street:

Panasonic DMC-ZS19, 17 February 2017, ISO 100, 4.3 mm, 1/2000 sec, f4

Panasonic DMC-ZS19, 17 February 2017, ISO 100, 4.3 mm, 1/2000 sec, f4

Inside the Broad, we toured Creature, an exhibit of the monstrous captured by artists in both it florid and it’s more mundane forms. Sadie Rose found herself smitten with an Andy Warhol take on Bella Lugosi’s Dracula [she’s in her “I love monsters” phase].

We were drawn to a couple of Jeff Koons sculptures. the first, a delightful rendition of America’s greatest comedian of silent screen era, Buster Keaton:

Panasonic DMC-ZS19, 17 February 2017, ISO 250, 4.3 mm, 1/60 sec, f3.3

Panasonic DMC-ZS19, 17 February 2017, ISO 250, 4.3 mm, 1/60 sec, f3.3

And there’s this rendition of the ambiguous Michael Jackson and his pet chimp, Bubbles:

Panasonic DMC-ZS19, 17 February 2017, ISO 320, 4.3 mm, 1/125 sec, f3.3

Panasonic DMC-ZS19, 17 February 2017, ISO 320, 4.3 mm, 1/125 sec, f3.3

After lunch we took a stroll, giving us the opportunity of shooting two murals adorning walls adjacent to downtown parking lots.

First, a work entitled Who Will Guard the Guards Themselves?, a translation of that famous line from the Roman poet Juvenal, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”:

Panasonic DMC-ZS19, 17 February 2017, ISO 100, 4.3 mm, 1/200 sec, f4

Panasonic DMC-ZS19, 17 February 2017, ISO 100, 4.3 mm, 1/200 sec, f4

Another mural offers a more optimistic perspective:

Panasonic DMC-ZS19, 17 February 2017, ISO 100, 4.3 mm, 1/500 sec, f4

Panasonic DMC-ZS19, 17 February 2017, ISO 100, 4.3 mm, 1/500 sec, f4

For our last two shots, we with to black and white, a perspective that allows us to capture the basic form of architectural features, as in this image of architecture detail atop a seven-story building:

Panasonic DMC-ZS19, 17 February 2017, ISO 100, 11.7 mm, 1/500 sec, f4.9

Panasonic DMC-ZS19, 17 February 2017, ISO 100, 11.7 mm, 1/500 sec, f4.9

And finally this image of a century old medallion adorning the top of the six-story Homer Laughlin Building, home of the city’s famous Grand Central Market:

Panasonic DMC-ZS19, 17 February 2017, ISO 200, 86 mm, 1/500 sec, f6.4

Panasonic DMC-ZS19, 17 February 2017, ISO 200, 86 mm, 1/500 sec, f6.4