Category Archives: Photography

Heavens above!: Massive stars, spangled


Another sunning photographic treat from the Hubble Space Telescope via NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day:

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Star Cluster R136 Bursts Out

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, & F. Paresce (INAF-IASF), R. O’Connell (U. Virginia), & the HST WFC3 Science Oversight Committee

Explanation: In the center of star-forming region 30 Doradus lies a huge cluster containing some of the largest, hottest, and most massive stars known. These stars, known collectively as star cluster R136, were captured in the featured image in visible light by the Wide Field Camera 3 in 2009 peering through the Hubble Space Telescope. Gas and dust clouds in 30 Doradus, also known as the Tarantula Nebula, have been sculpted into elongated shapes by powerful winds and ultraviolet radiation from these hot cluster stars. The 30 Doradus Nebula lies within a neighboring galaxy known as the Large Magellanic Cloud and is located a mere 170,000 light-years away.

Viggo Mortensen on American militarism, art


Viggo Mortensen is one of Hollywood’s most interesting actors, a commanding and often sympathetic screen presence.

But he’s much more than a screen presence. Born in New York, he was raised in Latin America, and holds citizenship in both the U.S. and Denmark. Among his other talents are gifts for painting, photography, writing, and poetry. Oh, he speaks four languages fluently and can converse in several others. And he’s also a recording artist and founded his own book publishing house, Perceval Press.

Give his credentials as a talented polymath, it should come as no surprise that he’s also a man of considered political opinions, and it is these that are the focus of the latest edition of TeleSUR English’s The Laura Flanders Show:

Viggo Mortensen: Empires and Justice in the Middle East

Program notes:

This week Laura and Viggo Mortensen discuss heroes, outlaws, empires and justice in the Middle East. Academy Award-nominated actor Viggo Mortensen has appeared in scores of movies, including The Lord of The Rings, one of the highest grossing film series of all time. What you may not know is he’s also a poet, photographer, musician and painter. He speaks four languages, and he is the founder and publisher of an independent publishing house, Perceval Press. The twelfth anniversary edition of Perceval’s collection of essays in response to the Iraq occupation: Twilight of Empire — was released this winter with essays by Mike Davis, Amy Goodman, Jodie Evans and Dennis Kucinich among others – and a forward by Howard Zinn. This episode also features a few words from Laura on Hillary Clinton – her warmth and her wars.

His Twitter feed is here, and his Facebook arts page is here.

And now for something completely different. . .


This time in the form of an award-winning parable for our time from British writer/director Spencer Brown:

The Boy with a Camera for a Face

Program notes:

The online premiere of the multi award winning short film from writer/director Spencer Brown. The Boy with a Camera for a Face is satirical fairy tale about a boy born with a camera instead of a head, whose every moment is transformed by the fact he is recording it. Accompanied by a voice over narration read by Steven Berkoff, the film tells an epic story in fifteen minutes about the way we live today.

Please share/like/ visit our facebook page at facebook.com/The-Boy-With-A-Camera-For-A-Face-353288858140677/

H/T to PetaPixel.

Heavens above!: Our closest stellar neighbor


From NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day:

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Proxima Centauri: The Closest Star

Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Explanation: Does the closest star to our Sun have planets? No one is sure — but you can now follow frequent updates of a new search that is taking place during the first few months of this year. The closest star, Proxima Centauri, is the nearest member of the Alpha Centauri star system. Light takes only 4.24 years to reach us from Proxima Centauri. This small red star, captured in the center of the featured image by the Hubble Space Telescope, is so faint that it was only discovered in 1915 and is only visible through a telescope. Telescope-created X-shaped diffraction spikes surround Proxima Centauri, while several stars further out in our Milky Way Galaxy are visible in the background. The brightest star in the Alpha Centauri system is quite similar to our Sun, has been known as long as recorded history, and is the third brightest star in the night sky. The Alpha Centauri system is primarily visible from Earth’s Southern Hemisphere. Starting last week, the European Southern Observatory‘s Pale Red Dot project began investigating slight changes in Proxima Centauri to see if they result from a planet — possibly an Earth-sized planet. Although unlikely, were a modern civilization found living on a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, its proximity makes it a reasonable possibility that humanity could communicate with them.

An astronaut’s view of Berkeley & vicinity


From NASA’s collection of astronaut photography, here’s a view of Berkeley and environs shot with an 800mm lens from the International Space Station on 13 May 2007. That’s the Berkeley Marina in the left center of the image:

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Heavens above: A galaxy shrouded in dust


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From NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Infrared Portrait of the Large Magellanic Cloud

Image Credit: ESA / NASA / JPL-Caltech / STScI

Explanation: Cosmic dust clouds ripple across this infrared portrait of our Milky Way’s satellite galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. In fact, the remarkable composite image from the Herschel Space Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope show that dust clouds fill this neighboring dwarf galaxy, much like dust along the plane of the Milky Way itself. The dust temperatures tend to trace star forming activity. Spitzer data in blue hues indicate warm dust heated by young stars. Herschel’s instruments contributed the image data shown in red and green, revealing dust emission from cooler and intermediate regions where star formation is just beginning or has stopped. Dominated by dust emission, the Large Magellanic Cloud’s infrared appearance is different from views in optical images. But this galaxy’s well-known Tarantula Nebula still stands out, easily seen here as the brightest region to the left of center. A mere 160,000 light-years distant, the Large Cloud of Magellan is about 30,000 light-years across.

Headlines of the day II: A tale of two selfies


And both from PetaPixel.

First, a classic case of chutzpah:

Here’s a curious case of someone who wasn’t happy with a portrait taken of himself

And second, a xenophobe’s lament:

French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen believes that an unflattering photo of him sleeping damaged his image in a recent election, and now he’s suing the dancer that snapped and posted it