Stunning Astrophoto: Milky Way Over Fünfländerblick

Hey, it’s #MilkyWayMonday! This gorgeous photo of the Milky Way was taken by astrophotographer Christian Kamber near Fu?nfla?nderblick, Switzerland (you can see the region on a map here). This is a stack of 20 shots, made with Deep Sky Stacker and Photoshop.

Lovely!

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Beautiful Astrophoto: Jupiter at Dawn

Prolific astrophotographer Joseph Brimacombe from Australia shot this beauty from his Savannah Skies Observatory near Cairns. He notes on Flickr that “Jupiter has been enhanced for effect,” but what a lovely effect! Plus what a great view of the landscape in Queensland.

Taken with a Canon 5D Mk II and 28-300 mm lens, six frames; three exposures each.

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Astrophoto: A ‘Mistakenly’ Beautiful View of the Crescent Moon and Leaning Tower of Pisa

A mistake led to this stunning image of the crescent Moon and the Tower of Pisa this week.

Astrophotographer Giuseppe Petricca from Italy had in mind a certain shot he wanted to take of the crescent Moon on June 29. “So I went out during the evening to do so,” he told Universe Today via email. “Unfortunately, I totally miscalculated the time! But, luckily, in the end, I managed to get an even more captivating shot.”

The Moon has a bit of Earthshine and a reddish glow from its low elevation in the sky, snuggling up to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. “Truly a beautiful combination and an awesome scenery. Impossible to not take a picture of it!” Giuseppe said.

This photograph was taken with a Nikon Coolpix P90 Bridge Camera on tripod, ISO 100, f4.5, 2.5″ exposure.

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Stunning Aurora at Mount Kirkjufell in Iceland

Wow! Mount Kirkjufell is a well-known and often-photographed landmark, and there are many who say it is the most beautiful mountain in Iceland. Photographer Nanut Bovorn captured Kirkjufell in all its glory on April 2, 2014, surrounded by starry skies and an incredible aurora. Simply stunning.

Below is another image taken the same night which also shows the beautiful landscape that surrounds Kirkjufell, with a stream and waterfalls, all under the beautiful nights skies in Iceland.

Mount Kirkjufell sits on a little peninsula and is 463 meters high.

Mount Kirkjufell in Iceland surrounded by the aurora on April 2, 2014. Credit and copyright: Nanut Bovorn.
Mount Kirkjufell in Iceland surrounded by the aurora on April 2, 2014. Credit and copyright: Nanut Bovorn.

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Stunning Astrophoto: Moon in the Lighthouse

The March full Moon, sometimes called the “Worm Moon” for signaling the coming of spring in the northern hemisphere. This artistically stunning image taken by astrophotopher Miguel Claro is a sequence of 93 images taken at 2-minute intervals as the Moon traveled across the sky and past the Cape Espichel lighthouse near Sesimbra, Portugal. Miguel tells us that the lighthouse originally opened in 1790, and by 1865 it was powered by olive oil, changing to regular fuel in 1886, and much later by electricity by about 1926. The lighthouse measures 32 meters high and lies at an altitude of 168m above the see level. Presently, its luminous range is 20 nautical miles, about 38 km out to sea on a clear night.

Miguel used a Canon 60D – 35mm at f/4 ISO500; 1/5 sec. The sequence was taken on March 16, 2014 between 19:16 and 20:42.

Here’s a closeup:

The Cabo Espichel lighthouse near, Sesimbra, Portugal and the full Moon on March 16, 2014. Credit and copyright: Miguel Claro.
The Cabo Espichel lighthouse near, Sesimbra, Portugal and the full Moon on March 16, 2014. Credit and copyright: Miguel Claro.

See more of Miguel’s work at his website.

You can check out other recent full Moon photos and more taken by our readers at our Flickr page.

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Subaru Telescope Captures the Fine Details of Comet Lovejoy’s Tail

Comet ISON may be no more than just a cloud of icy debris these days but there’s another comet that’s showing off in the morning sky: C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy), which was discovered in September and is steadily nearing its Christmas Day perihelion. In the early hours of Dec. 3, astronomers using the 8.2-meter Subaru Telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii captured this amazing image of Lovejoy, revealing the intricate flows of ion streamers in its tail. (Click the image above for extra awesomeness.)

According to a news story on the NAOJ website:

At the time of this observation, at around 5:30 am on December 3, 2013 (Hawaii Standard Time), Comet Lovejoy was 50 million miles (80 million km) distant from Earth and 80 million miles (130 million km) away from the Sun.

The entire image of comet Lovejoy was made with the Subaru Telescope’s Suprime-Cam, which uses a mosaic of ten 2048 x 4096 CCDs covering a 34′ x 27′ field of view and a pixel scale of 0.2”.

Where to find comet Lovejoy in the morning sky, Dec. 7 (via spaceweather.com)
Where to find comet Lovejoy in the morning sky, Dec. 7 (via spaceweather.com)

“Subaru Telescope offers a rare combination of large telescope aperture and a wide-field camera,” said a member of the observation team, which included astronomers from Stony Brook University in New York, Universidad Complutense in Madrid,  Johns Hopkins University, and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. “This enabled us to capture a detailed look at the nucleus while also photogenically framing inner portions of Comet Lovejoy’s impressive ion tail.”

Comet Lovejoy is currently visible in the early morning sky as a naked-eye object in the northern hemisphere.

Read more about Lovejoy’s journey through the inner solar system in this article by Bob King here.

Image of comet Lovejoy on Dec. 5 by Flickr user "Willo2173".
Image of comet Lovejoy on Dec. 5 by Flickr user Willo2173.

Do you have photos of comet Lovejoy or any other astronomical objects to share? Upload them to the Universe Today Flickr group!

Incredible Astrophoto: Deep and Wide View of the Milky Way

This new panorama of the Milky Way by astrophotographer Miguel Claro is really amazing, and you definitely want to click on the image to have access to larger versions! This is an 18-image mosaic taken with a Canon 60Da, with 60 second exposures, and it rivals wide-field images taken by larger ground-based telescopes. The images, were, however, taken from the home of some of the darkest skies and largest telescopes in the world, near Roque de Los Muchahos, in La Palma, Canary Islands. Visible is the hazy band of white light that comes from unresolved stars and other material that lie within the galactic plane, contrasting with interesting shapes within the dark regions of the band, corresponding to areas where light from distant stars is blocked by interstellar dust.

Above is an annotated version of Claro’s panorama, and below is one without annotations. Claro provides a detailed description at his website, and also has a beautiful gallery of images from his visit to La Palma which includes pictures of many of the telescopes at night, backdropped by star fields and the night sky.

Thanks to Miguel Claro for sharing his images with Universe Today!

The Milky Way Galaxy – Deep Sky Wide Field view, captured from Los Andenes, near Roque de Los Muchahos, in La Palma, Canary Island. Credit and copyright: Miguel Claro.
The Milky Way Galaxy – Deep Sky Wide Field view, captured from Los Andenes, near Roque de Los Muchahos, in La Palma, Canary Island. Credit and copyright: Miguel Claro.

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Astrophoto: Seeing the Cygnus Capsule Before Its Demise

Here’s a nice photo of the trails in the sky from the International Space Station and Orbital Science’s Cygnus freighter. This was captured just a few hours after Cygnus was undocked from the station on October 22, 2013. Astrophotographer Wendy Clark says to “please ignore my garden spaceship to the right,” but sorry, having a model of the starship Enterprise in your yard is just too wonderful to ignore!

This is a 20 sec exposure at ISO 1600 f4.5, 18mm, taken at 19.25 BST. The brightened spot is a flare (sun-glint) from one of the spacecraft.

And about an hour ago from this posting, Orbital Sciences confirmed that the Cygnus had deorbited:

Cygnus’ mission elapsed time (launch through deorbit) was 35 days 3 hours 18 minutes 27 seconds

Here’s another great photo of the two spacecraft together in the sky from Germany by Wolfgang Dzieran:

The International Space Station and the Cygnus capsule on October 22, 2013, as seen from from Bad Lippspringe, Eastwestphalia, Germany. Credit and copyright: Wolfgang Dzieran.
The International Space Station and the Cygnus capsule on October 22, 2013, as seen from from Bad Lippspringe, Eastwestphalia, Germany. Credit and copyright: Wolfgang Dzieran.

He explains what you are seeing in the photo: “The long, light line is the track in the middle is the ISS. The second track, which runs almost parallel to the orbit of the ISS is the Cygnus supply module, and at one point becomes conspicuously bright. This bright illumination is called a flare,” Dzieran writes on his website. “At top right and bottom you can see the traces of two aircraft.

Thanks to both astrophotographers for sharing their images!

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Amazing Astrophoto: The North American Nebula by Mick Hyde

Here’s a truly gorgeous image by astrophotographer Mick Hyde, a mosaic of NGC 7000 (the North American nebula) and the Pelican nebula (IC 5070).

The structure on the upper left side is the North American nebula, with the darkest lobe of dust near the center forming the “Gulf of Mexico.” The star-forming region is located approximately 1,600 light years away in the constellation of Cygnus the Swan.

On the upper right is another celestial water bird, the Pelican nebula, a bright curve of ionized gas suggesting the shape of a pelican’s head and neck.

Check out a wider view of this region here, and see this and more of Mick’s work on his Flickr page here.

Image © Mick Hyde. Used with permission.

Astrophoto: Jupiter and Venus over São Paulo

A great reason to get up early these days is the pre-dawn show now available from Venus and Jupiter. The two brightest planets in the night sky are paired together in the eastern sky, and Ednilson Oliveira from São Paulo, Brazil got up early this morning, July 6, 2012, to take this gorgeous shot of the planetary duo in the constellation Taurus, hovering over the city.

His specs: Nikon D3100, 18 mm, F/6.3 – Texp = 3 s – ISO 3200.

Beautiful!

For more information about seeing Venus and Jupiter in the early morning skies, watch the video below from [email protected]:

If you don’t watch the video in its entirety, one thing of note: Venus and the bright star Aldebaran will be right next to each other on the morning of July 9 — which will be a great sight.

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Image caption: Jupiter and Venus in the constellation Taurus in the city of Sao Paulo. Credit: Ednilson Oliveira