Although, on average, stars are white in color, there’s a very important reason for that. Inherently, there isn’t anything special about those wavelengths of light, save for the fact of where we are. This means that stars that burn at hotter temperatures than the Sun will appear bluer, while stars that are cooler will appear progressively yellow, orange, and even red. As colorful as the stars in these images are, though, they don’t quite explain everything. This great nebula, as seen up close, actually shows off the two major colors visible to human eyes found throughout dusty regions in space.
It turns out that regions of space that glow red are a little more common, but regions that glow blue are abundant as well.
The famed horsehead nebula, above, is a dusty, dark outline surrounded by a red, glowing region. The way you ionize an atom is you knock an electron off of the atom, and the hotter your nearby star is, the more hydrogen it can ionize! You’ve got a region of space with an abundance of both ionized atoms and free electrons. Most of the light that gets emitted is ultraviolet light, but of the light that is visible, most of that occurs at a very particular wavelength: 656 nanometers, which appears to our eyes to be a bright, red color! So when you see a diffuse, reddish glow coming from outer space, that’s evidence of hydrogen gas surrounding hot, young stars. In fact, if it weren’t hydrogen gas that surrounded your very hot star (or stars), but a myriad of heavier elements, you would get a completely different set of colors.
Although the Pleiades is a region filled with young, blue stars, they’re not quite hot enough to ionize the atoms in the space between its stars!
So when light runs into the neutral (not ionized) gas, the red light mostly passes through, with only a little bit reflected, while the blue light gets scattered in all directions, including towards us on Earth! And that’s how hot stars, hydrogen, heavier elements and light-scattering dust, combined with the light from all the surrounding stars, conspire to illuminate the depths of space with the full spectrum of visible light! If this has you imagining what you’d see if, instead of that tiny portion of the light spectrum that’s visible, you could see all the way from Gamma Rays down to Radio Waves, congratulations! The huge variety of information we can see with our eyes covers just one part in 60 of the wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum, on a logarithmic scale! Long time reader whos read all of your archives, and this imho is one of your top 10 writes up ever. Even after all this time, I have no idea which posts are really going to take off and which ones won’t. Still, thanks for the praise and know that personally I’m much more proud of this one!
The star colours aren’t really bright to begin with, and with accurate focus they will be burned white.
So if you want to photograph the colours: defocus the camera slightly, and the stars will appear as small disks that retain at least some of the colours at their edges. You’ve made me now badly -desperately- want to see with my naked eyes beyond the visible spectrum! Visual observation of slightly defocussed stars will also make their colours appear more clearly. Ethan, I am now just utterly upset that my eyes are so inadequate to fully enjoy the splendor of the Cosmos!
I love the first diagram you have on this page showing the electromagnetic spectrum and highlighting the visible spectrum. Data centers – google data centers, Lenoir one of the reasons google chose the city of lenoir, north carolina is its roots as a factory town in the furniture industry.. Google earth engine, Google earth engine has made it possible for the first time in history to rapidly and accurately process vast amounts of satellite imagery, identifying where and when. Google street view – explore natural wonders world, Explore world landmarks, discover natural wonders, and step inside locations such as museums, arenas, parks and transport hubs.. Commons:village pump - wikimedia commons, This page is used for discussions of the operations, technical issues, and policies of wikimedia commons.
Messier 104Messier 104, known as the Sombrero Galaxy, is one of the most popular sights in the universe. Ring NebulaThe NASA Hubble Space Telescope captured the sharpest view yet of the most famous of all planetary nebulae: the Ring Nebula (M57).
Pillars of CreationThese eerie, dark pillar-like structures are actually columns of cool interstellar hydrogen gas and dust that are also incubators for new stars. 2008 November 1 – A Spectre in the Eastern VeilThe Veil Nebula is a large supernova remnant, the expanding debris cloud from the death explosion of a massive star. NGC 2818It may look like a seahorse, but the dark object is actually a pillar of smoky dust about 20 light-years long. Swan NebulaThis photo shows a bubbly ocean of glowing hydrogen, oxygen, and sulphur gas in the extremely massive and luminous molecular nebula Messier 17.
NGC 2207 These glowering eyes are the swirling cores of two merging galaxies called NGC 2207 and IC 2163 in Canis Major. IC 1396IC 1396 is a large nebula in the constellation Cepheus spanning 3 full degrees of winter sky, the same angular distance of six full moons. NGC 7635A 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 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. Comet HyakutakeDiscovered by amateur astronomer Yuji Hyakutake in January 1996, Comet Hyakutake made a close approach to earth in March 1996. Stars and stripes in spaceThis composite image combines visible-light, radio and X-ray data for the full shell of the supernova remnant from SN 1006. 2008 October 25 – NGC 602 and BeyondNear the outskirts of the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy some 200 thousand light-years distant, lies 5 million year young star cluster NGC 602.
Andromeda galaxyThis image is a Galaxy Evolution Explorer observation of the large galaxy in Andromeda, Messier 31. Orion Nebula – Hubble 2006 mosaic 18000This file was a candidate in Picture of the Year 2006. And in the age of modern astronomy, which goes beyond terrestrial telescopes to space telescopes, orbiters and satellites, there is no shortage of pictures of the planets. Mercury, as imaged by the MESSENGER spacecraft, revealing parts never before seen by human eyes.


Because of its slow rotation and tenuous atmosphere, the planet experiences extreme variations in temperature – ranging from -184 °C on the dark side and 465 °C on the side facing the Sun. A radar view of Venus taken by the Magellan spacecraft, with some gaps filled in by the Pioneer Venus orbiter. Because of its thick atmosphere, scientists were unable to examine of the surface of the planet until 1970s and the development of radar imaging. Earth is the third planet from the Sun, the densest planet in our Solar System, and the fifth largest planet. Being that it is our home, observing the planet as a whole was impossible prior to the space age.
The first true-colour image of Mars taken by the ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft on 24 February 2007. Mars is famous for its red color and the speculation it has sparked about life on other planets.
Observations made by satellites flybys in the 1960’s (by the Mariner 3 and 4 spacecraft) dispelled this notion, but scientists still believe that warm, flowing water once existed on the surface, as well as organic molecules. Jupiter has been imaged by ground-based telescopes, space telescopes, and orbiter spacecraft. Saturn, the second gas giant closest to our Sun, is best known for its ring system – which is composed of rocks, dust, and other materials. Much like Jupiter, numerous pictures have been taken of the planet by a combination of ground-based telescopes, space telescopes and orbital spacecraft. Another gas giant, Uranus is the seventh planet from our Sun and the third largest planet in our Solar System. All of the gas giants have intense storms, but Neptune has the fastest winds of any planet in our Solar System. Universe Today has many interesting articles on the subject of the planets, such as interesting facts about the planets and interesting facts about the Solar System. If you are looking for more information, try NASA’s Solar System exploration page and an overview of the Solar System. Matt Williams is the Curator of the Guide to Space for Universe Today, a regular contributor to HeroX, a science fiction author, and a Taekwon-Do instructor. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. The Mars Atmospheric Global Imaging Experiment (MAGIE) is designed to acquire daily global images of Mars for at least 1 martian year at 2 visible wavelengths and 2 ultraviolet wavelengths.
MAGIE will observe the distribution of dust, condensates (water and carbon dioxide clouds), and ozone in the martian atmosphere.
Our eyes have evolved to see a very narrow set of wavelengths of light, which we know as the visible light spectrum, ranging from violet light at around 400 nanometers to red light at around 700 nanometers. On the left, the deep blue nebula sharply contrasts with the larger, red glow coming from the right. Believe it or not, it’s the young, hot, very blue stars that cause this nebula to glow red!
Instead, the dust can only reflect the light coming from the stars around it, and so these blue regions are known as reflection nebulae. For those of you inclined towards chemistry, you can mix your own reflection nebula in a beaker, and see how this works firsthand! You’ve just realized why we have telescopes that are sensitive to so many different wavelengths, and why we use false-color composites of all of this different information.
So appreciate what you can see and why it has the colors that it does, but don’t believe for a minute that what you see is all there is. While Zw II 96 is located about 500 million light-years away, Baby Boom lies 12.3 billion light-years away and appears in images as only a smudge. This photo reveals elongated dark clumps of material embedded in the gas at the edge of the nebula; the dying central star floating in a blue haze of hot gas. The pillars protrude from the interior wall of a dark molecular cloud like stalagmites from the floor of a cavern. The structure occurs in our neighbouring Large Magellanic Cloud, in a star-forming region near the Tarantula Nebula. This Hubble photograph captures a small region within Messier 17 (M17), a hotbed of star formation. It offers one of the best opportunities to study how stars are born partly because it is the nearest large star-forming region, but also because the nebula’s energetic stars have blown away obscuring dust clouds.
IC 4406 is probably a hollow cylinder, with its square appearance caused by viewing the cylinder from the side. It could well offer a glimpse of the future that awaits our own Sun in about five billion years NGC 2818 is a beautiful planetary nebula, the gaseous shroud of a dying sun-like star.
This image highlights the conspicuous globule IC 1396A – a striking structure sculpted by the radiation of nearby stars.
Highly visible even in daylight, the comet put on an amazing visual and photographic spectacle.
The Crab Nebula, the result of a supernova seen in 1054 AD, is filled with mysterious filaments. The small green box along the bright filament at the top of the image corresponds to the dimensions of the Hubble release image. The Andromeda galaxy is the second massive in the local group of galaxies that includes our Milky Way. Between the Sun, the Moon, and the Inner and Outer Solar System, there is no shortage of wondrous things to behold. But here are a few of the better ones, taken with high-resolutions cameras on board spacecraft that managed to capture their intricate, picturesque, and rugged beauty. Because of this, its surface is barren and sun-scorched, as seen in the image above provided by the MESSENGER spacecraft.
Since that time, numerous ground-based and orbital imaging surveys have produced information on the surface, particularly by the Magellan spacecraft (1990-94). Roughly half the size of Earth, Mars is much colder than Earth, but experiences quite a bit of variability, with temperatures ranging from 20 °C at the equator during midday, to as low as -153 °C at the poles. Since that time, a small army of spacecraft and rovers have taken the Martian surface, and have produced some of the most detailed and beautiful photos of the planet to date. Measuring over 70,000 km in radius, it is 317 times more massive than Earth and 2.5 times more massive than all the other planets in our Solar System combined.


The planet is comprised almost entirely of gas, with what astronomers believe is a core of metallic hydrogen.
The best ground-based picture was taken in 2008 by the ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VTL) using its Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics Demonstrator (MAD) instrument. All gas giants have their own system of rings, but Saturn’s system is the most visible and photogenic.
Like Uranus, it is both a gas giant and ice giant, composed of a solid core surrounded by methane and ammonia ices, surrounded by large amounts of methane gas. The winds on Neptune can reach up to 2,100 kilometers per hour, and the strongest of which are believed to be the Great Dark Spot, which was seen in 1989, or the Small Dark Spot (also seen in 1989). Also, it is strongly believed, by planetary scientists, that Jupiter has a rocky core (~10 earth masses), that the metallic liquid hydrogen surrounds. MAGIE is critical to extending and enhancing the record of continuous daily weather observations that began in April 1999 with the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) and continued in October 2006 by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Mars Color Imager (MARCI). The key studies for MAGIE center on daily monitoring of dust storms, dust devils, condensate cloud formations, and variations in ozone content of the atmosphere.
Potentially there is a third way, where the surface can act as a source (via production or storage) or as a sink (by sequestration or destruction) of atmospheric trace gases. In fact, yesterday’s Astronomy Picture of the Day was a close-up, high-resolution view of that reddish, nebular region in Orion, above. There’s a whole Universe out there, and every day, science helps us see it and understand it just a little bit more. In this inspirational post, we present beautiful photographs from space explorations: nebulas, comets, stars, planets, etc.
In fact, it is part of the photogenic Sombrero Galaxy, one of the largest galaxies in the nearby Virgo Cluster of Galaxies.
The nebula is about a light-year in diameter and is located some 2,000 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Lyra.
M17, also known as the Omega or Swan Nebula, is located about 5500 light-years away in the Sagittarius constellation. An island universe of about 100 billion stars, 32 million light-years away toward the constellation Pisces, M74 presents a gorgeous face-on view. It could well offer a glimpse of the future that awaits our own Sun in about five billion years.
The filaments are not only tremendously complex, but appear to have less mass than expelled in the original supernova and a higher speed than expected from a free explosion. But arguably, it is the eight planets that make up our Solar System that are the most interesting and photogenic. At 4,879 km, it is actually smaller than the Jovian moon of Ganymede and Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. While farther away from the Sun than Mercury, it has a thick atmosphere made up primarily of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen gas. The pictures sent back by Magellan revealed a harsh landscape dominated by lava flows and volcanoes, further adding to Venus’ inhospitable reputation.
This is due in part to Mars’ distance from the Sun, but also to its thin atmosphere which is not able to retain heat. It also has the most moons of any planet in the Solar System, with 67 confirmed satellites as of 2012. Yet, the sheer amount of pressure, radiation, gravitational pull and storm activity of this planet make it the undisputed titan of our Solar System.
However, the greatest images captured of the Jovian giant were taken during flybys, in this case by the Galileo and Cassini missions. The planet is also the second largest in our Solar System, and is second only to Jupiter in terms of moons (62 confirmed). Scientists believe it is composed of a rocky core that is surrounded by an icy mantle made up of water, ammonia and methane ice, which is itself surrounded by an outer gaseous atmosphere of hydrogen and helium. Though telescopes have captured images of the planet, only one spacecraft has even taken pictures of Uranus over the years.
Once again, this methane is what gives the planet its blue color.  It is also the smallest gas giant in the outer Solar System, and the fourth largest planet. In both cases, these storms and the planet itself were observed by the Voyager 2 spacecraft, the only one to capture images of the planet. Only the hottest, bluest stars have enough high-energy ultraviolet radiation to take the neutral hydrogen atoms present in interstellar space, and ionize them. Hopefully, these beauties will inspire you to create beautiful artwork, Web designs, graphics, wallpaper, illustrations, etc. The dark band of dust that obscures the mid-section of the Sombrero Galaxy in optical light actually glows brightly in infrared light. The image is a mosaic of 10 separate Galaxy Evolution Explorer images taken in September, 2003.
With their spherical discs, surface patterns and curious geological formations, Earth’s neighbors have been a subject of immense fascination for astronomers and scientists for millennia. This causes the Sun’s heat to become trapped, pushing average temperatures up to as high as 460°C. I wonder how Neptune would look like without its atmosphere concerning the size and the mass… Somewhat like the Earth, just a tiny bit larger and heavier, or is it much larger and heavier even without the atmosphere?
MAGIE will image locations in which dust storms occur, as these indicate areas where there is sufficient loose dust to be blown by the wind.
The Sombrero Galaxy, also known as M104, spans about 50,000 light years across and lies 28 million light years away. Due to the presence of sulfuric and carbonic compounds in the atmosphere, the planet’s atmosphere also produces rainstorms of sulfuric acid. MAGIE images will also show how the brightness and color of the surface varies from place to place over the course of a martian year, which gives some indication of where dust is eroded from, and deposited by, dust storms and dust devils.
Finally, MAGIE will monitor the seasonal growth and retreat of the water ice and carbon dioxide ice in the polar regions.



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