Posts Tagged ‘big bang prints’

Big Bang Monday: Cassini’s Looking at Uranus

Monday, May 5th, 2014

While pondering the possibility of geosynchronous spacecraft running into an out-of-control or very inclined one (around the 150-deg. West area), I was reminded there’s a reason we call it “space.” There’s a lot of it out there.

The gorgeous image from our friends at the Cassini Solstice Mission is one that’ll make you think about space.

Here’s their description

Uranus is a pale blue in this natural color image because its visible atmosphere contains methane gas and few aerosols or clouds. Methane on Uranus – and its sapphire-colored sibling, Neptune – absorbs red wavelengths of incoming sunlight, but allows blue wavelengths to escape back into space, resulting in the predominantly bluish color seen here. Cassini imaging scientists combined red, green and blue spectral filter images to create a final image that represents what human eyes might see from the vantage point of the spacecraft.

Uranus has been brightened by a factor of 4.5 to make it more easily visible. The outer portion of Saturn’s A ring, seen at bottom right, has been brightened by a factor of two. The bright ring cutting across the image center is Saturn’s narrow F ring.

Uranus was approximately 28.6 astronomical units from Cassini and Saturn when this view was obtained. An astronomical unit is the average distance from Earth to the sun, equal to 93,000,000 miles (150,000,000 kilometers).

This view was acquired by the Cassini narrow-angle camera at a distance of approximately 614,300 miles (988,600 kilometers) from Saturn on April 11, 2014. Image scale at Uranus is approximately 16,000 miles (25,700 kilometers) per pixel. Image scale at Saturn’s rings is approximately 4 miles (6 kilometers) per pixel. In the image, the disk of Uranus is just barely resolved. The solar phase angle at Uranus, seen from Cassini, is 11.9 degrees.

The images our space program produce are free. Getting big print made suitable for framing is available here. They do custom orders, so if you don’t see what you want — go out and find it, then have it done that way you like it.

Big Bang Monday: Very Strange Object

Monday, April 14th, 2014

According to CERN, the LHCb confirms existence of something strange:

The Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) collaboration today announced results that confirm the existence of exotic hadrons – a type of matter that cannot be classified within the traditional quark model.

Hadrons are subatomic particles that can take part in the strong interaction – the force that binds protons inside the nuclei of atoms. Physicists have theorized since the 1960s, and ample experimental evidence since has confirmed, that hadrons are made up of quarks and antiquarks that determine their properties. A subset of hadrons, called mesons, is formed from quark-antiquark pairs, while the rest – baryons – are made up of three quarks.

But since it was first proposed physicists have found several particles that do not fit into this model of hadron structure. Now the LHCb collaboration has published an unambiguous observation of an exotic particle – the Z(4430) – that does not fit the quark model.

This is like finding a four-leaf clover, but really geeky.

Big Bang Monday: Milky Way 360º

Monday, March 24th, 2014

spitzer 360

Very cool, yet incomprehensible. A 360º view of the Milky Way galaxy, composed of more than 2 million images. Not very pretty, is it? Well, you can win them all — but the sheer magnitude of this piece of work is pretty wild.

That’s astronomy for you: deeper than your deepest imagination. Never ceases to amaze most of us: there are more galaxies out there than there are stars in the Milky Way.

W T F ?!?

OK, now get this. You can put some of this “WTF?!?” up on your wall. Go check out and order some for yourself, or your spouse, boss, kids, etc. Go ahead: make their day!

Big Bang Monday: Whiteface

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Great photo by Mark Deff of Whiteface Mountain in New York, near Lake Placid and Site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics.

Who could forget beating the Soviets in hockey?

Big Bang Monday: Space Face!!

Monday, January 13th, 2014


The “space face,” courtesy of our friends at

Ever since I saw the HELIX Nebula and how it so closely resembles an EYE, I’ve always wanted to compose a FACE using only nebula imagery. Well, HERE IT IS!

I used the Orion, Sharpless, Butterfly (for the bow tie), Helix, Hand of God, and Thor’s Helmet nebulae.

Big Bang Monday: Go Nuts

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Ian O’Neill’s piece on a “supermassive peanut” at the center of our galaxy caught my attention.

The central bulge of our galaxy contains around 10,000 million stars and spans thousands of light-years, but due to the obscuring dust and gas intermingled with this stellar hive, the overall shape of the bulge is poorly understood. Previous data from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) project suggested the central galactic bulge was X-shaped — in a similar fashion to other galaxies observed in the Universe.

But using high resolution infrared data from VISTA, a better idea of the bulge’s shape has been mapped.

By focusing on 2 million red giant stars whose properties are well understood, very precise distances could be calculated. By doing this, a 3-dimensional model of the galactic bulge could be constructed.

“We find that the inner region of our Galaxy has the shape of a peanut in its shell from the side, and of a highly elongated bar from above”, said Ortwin Gerhard, co-investigator and leader of the Dynamics Group at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching, Germany. “It is the first time that we can see this clearly in our own Milky Way, and simulations in our group and by others show that this shape is characteristic of a barred galaxy that started out as a pure disc of stars.”

The second team of astronomers led by Sergio Vásquez, of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile, took a different approach to arrive at a similar conclusion. By comparing images of the central bulge 11 years apart using the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope, tiny shifts due to the motions of the bulge stars across the sky were measured. This betrayed the shape of the bulge.

“The stars we have observed seem to be streaming along the arms of the X-shaped bulge as their orbits take them up and down and out of the plane of the Milky Way. It all fits very well with predictions from state-of-the-art models!” said Vásquez.

Both groups of astronomers believe that the center of the galaxy started out as a flat disk of stars, but over the aeons became buckled and warped, eventually settling into the modern day “peanut.”

Check out the ESO’s Top 100 images, some of which are available for purchase as HUGE prints here.

Big Bang Monday: Circling a Black Hole

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Cool APOD today:

What would it look like to orbit a black hole? Since the strong gravity of the black hole can significantly alter light paths, conditions would indeed look strange. For one thing, the entire sky would be visible, since even stars behind the black hole would have their light bent to the observer’s eye. For another, the sky near the black hole would appear significantly distorted, with more and more images of the entire sky visible increasingly near the black hole. Most visually striking, perhaps, is the outermost sky image completely contained inside an easily discernible circle known as the Einstein ring. Orbiting a black hole, as shown in the above scientifically-accurate computer-created illustrative video, will show stars that pass nearly directly behind the black hole as zipping around rapidly near the Einstein ring. Although star images near the Einstein ring may appear to move faster than light, no star is actually moving that quickly. The above video is part of a sequence of videos visually exploring the space near a black hole’s event horizon.

Big Bang Monday: Northeast Astronomy Forum

Monday, April 15th, 2013

This weekend, at Rockland Community College in Suffern, N.Y., the Northeast Astronomy Forum is featuring a special guest! Jimmy Neutron creator John Davis.

I wonder if he drives a Chrysler, too.

Our friends from BigBangPrints will be there as well, among many others. Hope you can make it.

Big Bang Monday: Asteroid 2012 DA14

Monday, February 18th, 2013

This animated set of three images depicts asteroid 2012 DA14 as it was seen on Feb. 14, 2013, at a distance of 465,000 miles (748,000 kilometers). The animation was created by astronomers at the Remanzacco Observatory in Italy using observations obtained remotely from the Faulkes Telescope South in Siding Springs, Australia.

The images were taken with Faulkes Telescope South in Siding Springs, Australia, operated by Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network by E.Gomez. The animation was made by Remanzacco Observatory, Italy.

The asteroid is the large bright spot moving near the middle of the field of view. The other dots are stars in the background. A line that appears in one of the frames comes from a satellite that passed through the field of view.

Image credit: LCOGT/E. Gomez/Faulkes South/Remanzacco Observatory

Nice pic, but not worthy of wall mounting. I like the video better…

Big Bang Monday: Kepler Found Billions

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Pretty awesome of MSNBC to report on the Kepler mission’s discoveries…

Our Milky Way galaxy is home to at least 100 billion alien planets, and possibly many more, a new study suggests.

“It’s a staggering number, if you think about it,” lead author Jonathan Swift, of Caltech in Pasadena, said in a statement. “Basically there’s one of these planets per star.”

Swift and his colleagues arrived at their estimate after studying a five-planet system called Kepler-32, which lies about 915 light-years from Earth. The five worlds were detected by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, which flags the tiny brightness dips caused when exoplanets cross their star’s face from the instrument’s perspective.

It was recently published in The Astrophysical Journal. Good luck finding the abstract.

Hoping some of these images make it to the gallery.