Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Capturing the Stars

A new book featuring stunning images of heavenly bodies has been published

The True Color of the Solar Corona
This extraordinary image displays the range of true coronal colors. The blue sky has been artificially removed close to the sun’s surface, revealing the green hues dominant in the innermost corona (1.8 million degrees Kelvin), caused by the presence of the element Fe XIV, known as coronium. The corona becomes progressively redder farther from the sun’s surface as dust particles scatter the shorter wavelengths of light

Picture: Miloslav Druckmüller

IC 1396
IC 1396 is a large nebula in the constellation Cepheus spanning 3 full degrees of winter sky, the same angular distance of six full moons. This image highlights the conspicuous globule IC 1396A - a striking structure sculpted by the radiation of nearby stars

Picture: Johannes Schedler

The Bubble Nebula
A cosmic bubble of titanic proportions called the Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635), six light years wide, was formed by violent winds blown out by the hot central supergiant star, several hundred thousand times more luminous than our sun

Picture: Russell Croman

Solar Crescent and Baily’s Beads
Lasting only a few seconds during the early and late stages of eclipse totality, the rugged lunar topography allows “beads” of sunlight to peek through. The effect is named in honour of English astronomer Francis Baily, who observed the phenomenon in 1836. Planet-sized flares are visible on the solar surface

Picture: Fred Espenak

Solar Prominences
Hot gaseous matter ejected from the sun is returned to its surface by powerful magnetic fields, forming immense arc-like prominences

Picture: Thierry Legault

Aurora Borealis on November 8, 2004, Langhus, Norway
Glowing modulations of light form a variety of rays, arcs, and curtains. Each ray lines up along the direction of Earth’s magnetic field as excited molecules in Earth’s upper atmosphere collide and release their energy in the form of visible light. Green and red hues are produced by excited oxygen, while blue auroras are produced by nitrogen in the earth’s atmosphere

Picture: Arne Danielsen

Nebulosity Surrounding Antares
Glowing with the luminosity of 40,000 suns, the red supergiant star Antares is an imposing sight. Matter ejected by the aging star scatters its starlight, forming the vast yellow cloud that appears to engulf the star

Picture: David Malin

Comet Hyakutake
Discovered by amateur astronomer Yuji Hyakutake in January 1996, Comet Hyakutake made a close approach to earth in March 1996. Highly visible even in daylight, the comet put on an amazing visual and photographic spectacle. The comet’s remarkable tail is 360 million miles long, the longest known for any comet

Picture: Bill and Sally Fletcher

Cygnus and Lyra
This rich wide-field image showcases not only the bright stars of the constellations Cygnus and Lyra but also the summer Milky Way and several notable summer nebulae such as the North American, Gamma Cygni, and Veil nebula complexes

Picture: Bill and Sally Fletcher

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