Posts Tagged ‘photography

Stunning photos of the Titanic …

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… shown on the base of the ocean nearly 100 years from that fateful night

The sinking of the Titanic is one of the 20th century’s great dramas, a mystery that has confounded scientists and historians for years.
There is still an aura of mysticism that remains around that fateful ship and new photos that will be published in the April 2012 edition of National Geographic Magazine provide viewers with a sense of what the wreck looks like today.
These new photos, shot using state-of-the-art technology by independent research group Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, provide viewers with a greater understanding of what happened on that fateful April 15, 1912.

The first complete views of the legendary wreck: As the starboard profile shows, the Titanic buckled as it plowed nose-first into the seabed, leaving the forward hull buried deep in mud—obscuring, possibly forever, the mortal wounds inflicted by the iceberg


Ethereal views of Titanic’s bow (modeled) offer a comprehensiveness of detail never seen before.
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Written by physicsgg

March 21, 2012 at 9:05 pm

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A Double Green Flash

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At sunset, the sky is often painted with an array of oranges, reds and yellows, and even some shades of pink. There are, however, occasions when a green flash appears above the solar disc for a second or so. One such occurrence was captured beautifully in this picture taken from Cerro Paranal, a 2600-metre-high mountain in the Chilean Atacama Desert, by ESO Photo Ambassador Gianluca Lombardi. Cerro Paranal is home to ESO’s Very Large Telescope.

The green flash is a rather rare phenomenon; seeing such a transient event requires an unobstructed view of the setting (or rising) Sun and a very stable atmosphere. At Paranal the atmospheric conditions are just right for this, making the green flash a relatively common sight (see for example eso0812). But a double green flash such as this one is noteworthy even for Paranal.

The green flash occurs because the Earth’s atmosphere works like a giant prism that bends and disperses the sunlight. This effect is particularly significant at sunrise and sunset when the solar rays go through more of the lower, denser layers of the atmosphere. Shorter wavelength blue and green light from the Sun is bent more than longer wavelength orange and red, so it appears slightly higher in the sky than orange or red rays from the point of view of an observer.

When the Sun is close to the horizon and conditions are just right, a mirage effect related to the temperature gradient in the atmosphere can magnify the dispersion — the separation of colours — and produce the elusive green flash. A blue flash is almost never seen as the blue light is scattered by molecules and particles in the dense blanket of air towards the horizon.

The mirage can also distort the shape of the Sun and that of the flash. We see two bands of green light in this image because the weather conditions created two alternating cold and warm layers of air in the atmosphere.

This stunning photo was taken by ESO Photo Ambassador Gianluca Lombardi on 28 March 2011. The phenomenon was captured on camera as the Sun was setting on a sea of clouds below Cerro Paranal.

Credit: G. Lombardi/ESO

Written by physicsgg

November 21, 2011 at 12:55 pm


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Yesterday’s geomagnetic storm caused some great auroras

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A CME hit Earth’s magnetic field on Oct. 24 at 1800 UT, sparking a strong (Kp=7) geomagnetic storm. Auroras were sighted in the United States as far south as Arkansas and California

Video 1: The SOlar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) captured this “coronograph” – so-called because the images block the sun, and only show the sun’s atmosphere, or corona. The coronal mass ejection (CME) that caused aurora to appear on the evening of October 24th begins when the counter in the lower left hand hits October 22, 1:36 (which translates to October 21, 9:36 PM ET).

Video 2:Aurora Timelapse from Michigan 24-10-2011

Shawn Malone, Marquette Michigan Oct. 24, 2011

Branislav Beliancin, Spjelkavik, Norway Oct. 25, 2011

Brian Emfinger, Ozark, Arkansas, USA Oct. 24, 2011

Randy Halverson, Cross Plains, Wisconsin Oct. 24, 2011

Geir Øye, Ørsta, Norway Oct. 25, 2011

Ray Mckenzie, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada Oct. 24, 2011

Anders Olav Bjorkavag, Ålesund, Norway Oct. 24, 2011

Malcolm Park, Whitby Ontario, Canada Oct. 24, 2011

Frank Olsen , Tromsø, Norway Oct. 25, 2011

Fredrik Broms, Kvaløya, Norway Oct. 24, 2011

24 -10 - 2011, Tobias Billings

Written by physicsgg

October 25, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Laser Meets Lightning

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On Thursday 18 August, the sky above the Allgäu Public Observatory in southwestern Bavaria was an amazing sight, with the night lit up by two very different phenomena: one an example of advanced technology, and the other of nature’s dramatic power.

As ESO tested the new Wendelstein laser guide star unit by shooting a powerful laser beam into the atmosphere, one of the region’s intense summer thunderstorms was approaching — a very visual demonstration of why ESO’s telescopes are in Chile, and not in Germany. Heavy grey clouds threw down bolts of lightning as Martin Kornmesser, visual artist for the ESO outreach department, took timelapse photographs of the test for ESOcast 34. With purely coincidental timing this photograph was snapped just as lightning flashed, resulting in a breathtaking image that looks like a scene from a science fiction movie. Although the storm was still far from the observatory, the lightning appears to clash with the laser beam in the sky.

Laser guide stars are artificial stars created 90 kilometres up in the Earth’s atmosphere using a laser beam. Measurements of this artificial star can be used to correct for the blurring effect of the atmosphere in astronomical observations — a technique known as adaptive optics. The Wendelstein laser guide star unit is a new design, combining the laser with the small telescope used to launch it in a single modular unit, which can then be placed onto larger telescopes.

The laser in this photograph is a powerful one, with a 20-watt beam, but the power in a bolt of lightning peaks at a trillion (one million million) watts, albeit for just a fraction of a second! Shortly after this picture was taken the storm reached the observatory, forcing operations to close for the night. While we may have the ability to harness advanced technology for devices such as laser guide stars, we are still subject to the forces of nature, not least among them the weather!

Written by physicsgg

September 5, 2011 at 11:36 am


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Psychedelic wonder of galaxies at night: Incredible images taken by amateur astronomer using a camera and home-made telescope

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These spectacular images of galaxies thousands of light years away would appear to have been taken using state-of-the-art equipment.

In fact, they were captured by amateur astronomer Georgiy Suturin using just a camera and a home-made telescope.

The extraordinary photos include the twinkling beauty of the Orion Nebula, and the Rosette Nebula – an object so massive it would take 130 years travelling at the speed of light to go from one side to the other.

Cosmic beauty: Amateur astronomer Georgiy Suturin took this stunning image of an open cluster - first discovered by Caroline Herschel in 1787 - using just a camera and a home-made telescope

Mr Suturin, from Kiev, Ukraine, took this exquisite image of the Orion Nebula is one of the brightest nebulae and is visible to the naked eye in the night sky

Incredibly, they were taken using a telescope painstakingly pieced together by Mr Suturin, who has dedicated his life to developing and trialling different kit to perfect his set-up.

He said: ‘I was fond of astronomy even when I was a boy and studied in school.

‘I first started making telescopes together with my friend. We made them out of standard glasses you wear if you have bad eyesight.

‘We inserted the lenses to tubes made of hard cardboard and discovered we could take pictures of Venus – I kept that photograph under my pillow for years.

‘Over the years I have developed the telescope to the point where if you see me setting up to take pictures you might think a man is getting some equipment out and making a machine gun from it.’

Stargazing equipment: Mr Suturin has dedicated his life to developing and trialling different kit to perfect his telescopic set-up

Father-of-one Mr Suturin, from Kiev, Ukraine had a break from his hobby while concentrating on his studies before joining the army.
Following the end of USSR, he moved to Kiev when his son suddenly asked for a telescope.
He said: ‘I bought a small Celestron and together we even saw a moon through it – it gave me the bug back and before I knew it, it ended with me buying a Schmidt-Kessegren Meade.
‘From there I started to collect all the equipment I needed to take photos even further away, extra glass and bits to connect it all which looks like bad plumbing to the naked eye.
‘My wife wasn’t happy with it mind, but that was just the beginning, as I soon bought an apochromatic telescope which is the price of small car.
‘I bought many more small things all needed to get these perfect pictures so it would not be far from the truth if I said I spent thousands of pounds.
‘But when I get the results after travelling hundreds of miles to escape the city lights it’s all worth it.
‘My photography needs to capture the line perfectly between hydrogen, oxygen and sulphur to be this clear. It makes all the effort worthwhile when I go home with pictures like these.’

Majestic red: The Rosette Nebula is so massive it would take 130 years travelling at the speed of light to go from one side to the other

Heart-shaped: The twinkling CED 214 emission nebula in the Cepheus constellation

Mr Suturin's image of the Andromeda Galaxy, a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years from Earth, can be seen in all its oval glory

Written by physicsgg

July 19, 2011 at 8:05 am


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Skies the limit: Photographer snaps space station streaking over Britain TWICE in one night

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A British photographer was over the moon after he captured the International Space Station flying over Britain twice in one night.

Mark Humpage camped out all night to snap these out-of-this-world images of the ISS speeding above the Leicestershire countryside.

The 46-year-old was staked out in a secret location where he calculated conditions were just right to get this amazing long-exposure snap of a double fly-past at 00:57am and 2:32am on Sunday…….

Space station: A double flyby at 0057 0232 hrs against an all night star trail and a fiery moon. It was captured on 12 June

Night sky: Two circular trails created by the orbiting International Space Station can be seen curving towards Earth

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Written by physicsgg

June 13, 2011 at 9:49 pm