Photography that is out of this world

Taken on Mosfellsheioi, between Reykjavik and Thingvellir, in Iceland, an observer watches a dramatic display of the Aurora Borealis light up the sky. Auroras are at their most spectacular at times of high activity on the surface of the sun. A stream of electrically charged particles are ejected from the sun during solar storms, creating the solar wind. Particles in the solar wind become trapped in the magnetic field around the Earth and collide with gas atoms, causing them to release energy in the form of bright light. The colours produced generally depend on the type of gas atoms being producing the light – green and red colours are generally produced by nitrogen and oxygen, the most abundant gases in the atmosphere, while helium produces a purple colour and neon produces rare orange flares

This blood red image of the moon was taken during a total lunar eclipse seen in Sydney. The moon gradually glides into the Earth’s shadow, until the normally pale white colour disappears and is replaced by an orange and red hue. This is caused by sunlight being refracted around the edge of the Earth, through the atmosphere. Blue light from the sun tends to be scattered by the atmosphere so the light that reaches the surface of the moon during a lunar eclipse is predominantly red

Our closest neighbour in close-up. This year marks 400 years since a telescope was first used to observe the Moon and 40 years since mankind first set foot on the lunar surface. In this picture the moon is partially in the shadow of the Earth, with the 52 mile wide Tycho crater towards the bottom. The Copernicus crater can be seen to the centre left. The Sea of Serenity and Sea of Tranquility, which are actually large basaltic plains formed by ancient volcanic eruptions, are the large dark patches in the centre.

The clear skies needed to capture an image like this of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, are rare in Iceland. Using a relatively long exposure the foreground shows up as being illuminated by the streaks of colour in the sky caused by streams of particles from the sun exciting gas atoms in the Earth’s atmosphere

Two youngsters, illuminated by a red flash, look out across a dark valley at the Milky Way, the galaxy which hosts our own solar system. Visible with the naked eye, the Milky May appears as a hazy band of white light that arches across the night sky. Using special photographic filters, it is possible to reveal more of the detail of the galaxy. It is thought to be about 100,000 light years in diameter and contains more than 200 billion stars. Our own sun resides on one of the galaxy’s outer spiral arms, about 27,000 light years from the centre of the galaxy

Another striking image of the Milky Way, this time stretching above the volcanic peaks of La Palma in the Canary Islands. Famed for its dark skies, the observatories on the island enjoy a rare and unspoiled view of the heavens. With national Dark Sky Parks now being established here in the UK, this is the kind of view that British astronomers may eventually hope to experience themselves

One of the most famous spiral galaxies in the sky, this is the Whirlpool Galaxy, which is around 31 million light years away. It is visible from the Earth just by using binoculars, but it is only when viewed in high magnification that its spiral structure becomes clear. A dwarf galaxy known as Messier 51b, seen on the bottom left arm of the spiral, is interacting with the Whirlpool Galaxy. It is thought that the gravity forces from the Whirlpool Galaxy have caused Messier 51b to become highly distorted

This colourful nebular, known as the Gabriela Mistral Nebula, contains a mass of giant, hot young stars. The bright colours are caused by different chemical elements found in the nebula as energy released from the stars excites the atoms and causes them to glow with different colours of light. It is named after the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral as it is thought to bear a striking resemblance to her in profile

The long, wispy structure in the centre of this image is known as the Elephant Trunk Nebula. It is a concentration of gas and dust around 2,400 light years away from Earth. It is believed to be the site of star formation, containing very young stars that have been born as gas and dust clumped together to form stars

The Pelican Nebula is another star forming region. Two bright blue, extremely hot and massive stars can be clearly seen surrounded by a pink haze of hydrogen gas which is the remnants of the cloud that formed the stars. With huge amounts of strong UV light and radiation in the region, it is an extremely hostile and violent place

The Orion Nebula is the closest region of massive star formation to Earth. It can be seen with the naked eye as a fuzzy patch just below Orion’s belt and is one of the brightest nebulae in the sky. It is located around 1,340 light years from Earth and is around 24 light years across. The bright point at the centre of the image, which looks like a giant bubble with a hole in it, is known as a stellar nursery where a cluster of brand new stars have formed.

This is known to be one of the most colourful areas in our galaxy. The bright blue cluster at the top of the image is the star Rho Ophiuchi and its surrounding stars contained within a cloud of dust and gas that reflects the blue light they emit. The yellow cloud is Antares, a red supergiant star some 700 times larger in diameter than our own sun

This striking image of the sun setting behind some radio masts in Puglia, Italy, demonstrates how the sun’s rays become distorted by the atmosphere as the Earth rotates. As the light from the sun has to travel through more layers of gas in the evening, blue light tends to be scattered leaving mainly red and orange light to produce warm glow of an evening’s sunset


Plenty more Cool Stuff

8 Responses to “Photography that is out of this world”

  1. Photography that is out of this world | Energy Solutions | Photography says:

    […] watches a thespian arrangement of a Aurora Borealis light … See a strange post here:  Photography which is out of this universe | Energy Solutions Share and […]

  2. franjh says:

    Your right, it is out of this world. Awesome stuff. How did you do some of these photos. Did you use camera on a telescope to create photos. I would be interested in how you created some of your images. Thanks.

  3. Photography that is out of this world | Energy Solutions | kozmom news says:

    […] Read the original: Photography that is out of this world | Energy Solutions […]

  4. aeros says:

    In the photo with the kids “illuminated with a red flash” is it really a red flash? or is it due to the IR filter being removed from the CCD?

    Also what body/lenses/mods were used in that shot.

    Please elaborate on the mods to the camera if known.

  5. Jim Haworth says:

    fabulous nebulae photos. I’m curious about your technique. D!o you use time exposure with a celestial motor? The red flash is a great technique for providing contrast against the star studded sky

  6. none says:

    good grief. awesome, but it is not like you took those. those are famous pics, not yours!

  7. Make Solar Panels says:

    Wow, I might consider subscribe to your blog with my rss reader right now!

  8. justin says:

    those pics are pretty amazing

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