Skip to comments.2013's Best and Most Beautiful Photos of the Universe
Posted on 12/23/2013 11:57:19 AM PST by lbryce
I love astronomy. I have my whole life. Part of that is the wonder and awe it generates, learning about the Universe and our place in it.
But of course, there is great beauty in the skies as well. From our nearest neighbors to the most distant galaxies, the cosmos is a wonder to behold. Every year I collect my favorite pictureschosen both for their beauty and their importance to scienceand put them together in a gallery to delight your brain (youll find links to previous galleries at the end of this article). Picking only a few is always a herculean task, but I hope the ones on this list affect you the same way they did me.
(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...
Make sure you click on the "Higher-resolution Photo Original Blog Post" link that accompanies each image.
Nah, didn't you hear? It's just a random collection of "stuff".
God breathed the stars into the heavens. It was a simple task for Him. Our sun is a speck in the sky compared to the stars Betelgeuse and Canis Majoris. We cannot wrap our heads around how big He is!!!
The universe is one beautiful place. By the way whenever I see your post I’m thinking Bryce Fractals which are really cool and remind me of astronomical pictures.
ping ping ping
The original photo shows a star about to go nova...so the huge nebula of gas and dust would have been obliterated by now.
Aren’t most of those beautiful “pictures” actually false color?
I actually posted an article within the last few months that addresses the really strange aspect of how the “pillars of creation” as they were called had already vanished when at the very moment we were first being astounded by it all. The huge distances involved and the limitations on the speed in which light can travel created the strange set of circumstances of what we were observing at the moment was not even there anymore.
Yes, I believe so.
Actually EVERYTHING you see is how it used to look. Some of it looks like it did a fraction of a second ago and in the case of the Eagle Nebula what we see happened about 7000 years ago. I’m in awe every time I look into the night sky and realize I’m looking back in time! We’ll never know what the universe currently looks like because the scale only allows us to see what it did look like. Truly mind boggling.
And of course those "some" things would be anything within 186,000 miles, as that is how far light travels in a second. It takes light about 1-1/4 seconds to get to us from the moon. Of the 8 planets, Venus gets the closest at 23-25 million miles (when it is between the Sun and Earth). That's about 2 light minutes. The nearest star, outside of the Sun, is about 50 trillion miles, or 4-1/3 light years away. The Sun, at around 93 million miles, is 8 light minutes from Earth.
Each color of light represents a specific frequency of the electromagnetic spectrum. In some of these cases the color is real but intensified to allow us to see them, as they are impossibly faint to the naked eye or even through a telescope. In other cases, totally false colors must be added in order to display any image at all. This is usually when the image is in frequencies other than normal optical light. Frequencies such as Radio, Ultraviolet, Infrared, Gamma, etc.
...some pictures are long exposure shots where the colors that ARE actually there build up over time and become visible. Others images are composite photos.
No actually EVERYTHING, at ANY distance, that we see happened the past whether it’s 186,000 miles away (appears one second in the past) 93,000 miles away (half a second in the past) or right in front of our faces (infinitesimal fraction of a second in the past.) ANY object we “see” is because light traveled from somewhere and it took some amount of time to travel to our retina and what our brain tells us we see happened at some time in the past, whether the duration is unbelievably small and recent like the image you’re reading on your monitor or billions of years in the past like some of the stars you see when you peer into the night sky.
I was just clarifying for others what you said about some objects appearing as they were “fractions of a second ago”. These objects would obviously have to be within 186,000 miles for the light to take less than a second to reach us (light of course travels at 186,000 miles per sec). I understand they could be within 2 or 3 feet, or 2 or 3 inches. I’m not so sure what happens at the level of atomic particles though. Quantum reality is extremely weird.
If you wanna get all accurate about it, many of these objects never actually existed as pictured. Since they are likely very large, the period of time it takes for the image to get here would be different for various parts of the image. In other words, pixel A could be seconds, minutes, days or more older than pixel B.
Excellent and intelligent point. Our own Milky Way, for example, as I’m sure you know, is roughly 100,000 light years across.
Then again, why is it that distant galaxies, many of which are larger than our 100,000-light-year-wide Milky Way, appear so well structured from our perspective? Shouldn’t the far side be a bit ‘off’ from the near side since activity there is potentially 100,000 years separated from the other? Or is 100,000 years a “mere bag of shells” in the galactic scheme of things?
continuing...our Sun takes approximately 250 million years to go once around the Milky Way. So I guess, seen from a great distance, there might not be much visible difference between the near side and far side.
Lol. At least your cactus is for real.
“Quantum reality is extremely weird.”
That must be what takes place in my wife’s car. The thing has already hit the car in the past before she even sees it.
Thanks lbryce, extra to APoD.
You know I have been on the internet a long time when everytime I follow nature photos I expect to see the goatse nebula.
Perish the thought!
Merry Christmas and a wonderful, Happy New Year to you and all the fine folks at the Vendome household, as well as to all my fellow FReepers!
Go outside, look up, and (day or night) consider that ALL that light is hitting your eyeball right now. The amount of information reaching you is absolutely staggering.