Posts Tagged ‘The Sun’

Today I ran across two incredible sets of images. The first is a set of “solargraphs” from a New Scientist story (via The Bad Astronomer). The photographer, Justin Quinnell, exposed a pinhole camera for 6 months. The resulting image tracks the sun as it moves across the sky. Each track is the motion of the sun over the course of a day, and the different tracks show how it moves through the seasons. The trick, of course, is finding a place where a camera can sit undisturbed for 6 months. If you have that, then the article tells you how to take your own. I smell science project.

The second, which I found linked at Swans on Tea, is a set of pictures of Fire Rainbows, a phenomena I’d never even heard about before. These are incredibly rare, requiring cirrus clouds with ice crystals aligned just so while the sun is at a particular angle, but the result is beyond spectacular. If you painted this for a class you’d be flunked for making something so unrealistic.

Take a look at the full sets; both are breathtaking.

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The Boston Globe runs a beautiful feature called “The Big Picture”. The most recent features images of The Sun which are breathtaking.

One thing I find particularly cool is that many of the most detailed pictures were taken with ground based telescopes, such as the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope. They use the full set of tricks to get this amazing resolution — including adaptive optics, where the telescope’s own mirror is deformed to match the distortions in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The picture above is dramatically reduced in size and quality; go see the real thing.

In other amazing-space-image related news, NASA will try to fix the Hubble Space Telescope tomorrow by switching to a backup system. The Hubble has been unable to send pictures back down to Earth for a few weeks now, as it’s come down with a bad case of broken electronics. In the meantime, they’ve still been able to do useful science by obtaining ever-more accurate positions of stars.

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