Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Soon… soon…

So… it’s taking me a little longer – no surprise – to prepare my photos and stories about our Riviera Maya experience. But, I’ll show you my very first efforts…

… so you’ll know that I am putting a lot of thought into the images that I want to share with you. Ha!

So… (again)… for today’s blog I thought that you’d enjoy some images created by some other planetary folk. Though some of these images were captured by satellites, a human hand was in touch with it’s mechanics and controls to capture these universal happenings. All of these images and their explanations came from a NASA website that I have a link to at the very bottom of my www.bitsandpeaces.com website’s homepage entitled “My Home”

Explanation: Blown by the wind from a massive star, this interstellar apparition has a surprisingly familiar shape. Cataloged as NGC 7635, it is also known simply as The Bubble Nebula. Although it looks delicate, the 10 light-year diameter bubble offers evidence of violent processes at work. Above and right of the Bubble's center is a hot, O-type star, several hundred thousand times more luminous and approximately 45 times more massive than the Sun. A fierce stellar wind and intense radiation from that star has blasted out the structure of glowing gas against denser material in a surrounding molecular cloud. The intriguing Bubble Nebula lies a mere 11,000 light-years away toward the boastful constellation Cassiopeia.

Explanation: Sometimes, it's fun to share the sky. Although it might appear that the two sky enthusiasts on the ridge are sharing only a crescent moon between them, three bright planets also stand behind them. The brightest point in the sky is the planet Venus, while reddish Mars floats above it, and Saturn shines off to its right. In the foreground are picturesque clumps of sand of the beach at Costa da Caparica, before the reflecting waters of the Atlantic Ocean. August 18, 2010

Explanation: Don't panic, the Sun has not gone wild. But this wild-looking portrait of the nearest star to planet Earth was made on March 30th, 2010 by the recently launched Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). Shown in false-color, the composite view covers extreme ultraviolet wavelengths and traces hot plasma at temperatures approaching 1 million kelvins. At full resolution, SDO image data is intended to explore solar activity in unprecedented detail. In fact, SDO will send 1.5 terabytes of data back each day, equivalent to a daily download of about half a million MP3 songs. New SDO data releases include a high-resolution movie of the large, eruptive prominence seen along the solar limb at the upper left.

Explanation: Why did the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland create so much ash? Although the large ash plume was not unparalleled in its abundance, its location was particularly noticeable because it drifted across such well populated areas. The Eyjafjallajökull volcano in southern Iceland began erupting on March 20, with a second eruption starting under the center of a small glacier on April 14, 2010. Neither eruption was unusually powerful. The second eruption, however, melted a large amount of glacial ice which then cooled and fragmented lava into gritty glass particles that were carried up with the rising volcanic plume. Pictured above, lightning bolts illuminate ash pouring out of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

Explanation: Inside the head of this interstellar monster is a star that is slowly destroying it. The monster, on the right, is actually an inanimate pillar of gas and dust that measures over a light year in length. The star, not itself visible through the opaque dust, is bursting out partly by ejecting energetic beams of particles. Similar epic battles are being waged all over the star-forming Carina Nebula. The stars will win in the end, destroying their pillars of creation over the next 100,000 years, and resulting in a new open cluster of stars. The pink dots around the image are newly formed stars that have already been freed from their birth monster. The above image was released last week in commemoration of the Hubble Space Telescopes 20th year of operation. The technical name for the stellar jets are Herbig-Haro objects. How a star creates Herbig-Haro jets is an ongoing topic of research, but it likely involves an accretion disk swirling around a central star. A second impressive Herbig-Haro jet occurs diagonally near the image center.

Explanation: These are towers and walls of sedimentary rock that are particularly plentiful in Bryce Canyon in Utah, USA. The rock columns may rise higher than 50 meters and are called hoodoos. On the far left is Thor's Hammer, perhaps the most famous hoodoo. The tall rock columns were carved, most typically, when a unusually dense cap of rock provided a layer of protection to rock underneath from rain-based erosion. Visible in the background (a few kilometers in the far distance) are a few water clouds. Far in the distance lie billions of stars that are thousands of light years away and compose the faintly glowing arch that is the visible central band of the flat disk of our Milky Way. Over many years, wind and rain will eventually cause the tops of the hoodoos to topple, whereafter the underlying column will likely completely erode away.

Explanation: Venus, being commonly discernible as one of the brightest objects in the sky, is frequently mistaken for an airplane. (Venus will set quite slowly, though.) Mercury, however, is dimmer and usually harder to find. During February 2010 though, Mercury was found just to the right of Venus, appearing increasingly below the brighter planet. Pictured above, Venus and Mercury were imaged next to the famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. A careful inspection of the image will further reveal that the bright object nearly below Venus is iconic Eiffel Tower.

There’s just so much to marvel at when ya think about it!?


No comments: