DAY: Give your mom a truly heavenly gift on May
11th--a subscription to Space
SPACE STATION TRICORDER:
Astronauts are using a Star Trek tricorder-like device
to keep track of microscopic life forms onboard the International
Space Station. Get the full
story from Science@NASA.
WHAT WOULD GALILEO
SAY? Before you read any further, click
here. That's what Galileo saw in 1610 when he turned his small
telescope toward Jupiter: a fuzzy disk surrounded by four point-like
moons. It wasn't much to look at, but his pioneering
observations upended 17th century cosmology.
Fast forward 398 years to the backyard of amateur astronomer Paul
Haese in Blackwood, South Australia: "I took this picture
of Jupiter on May 10th using my peltier cooled 14-inch
"The seeing was great," he says. Jupiter's moon Io appears
in the foreground not as a dimensionless point of light, but a true
3D orb. The Great Red Spot, a hurricane twice as wide as Earth,
reveals its inner swirls while two companion red spots turn nearby:
The overall detail is simply breathtaking.
"I'm a happy camper, says Haese. "This is my best picture
of Jupiter yet." And it didn't even upend cosmology. What would
Readers, Jupiter is a wonderful target for any backyard telescope
and it's easy to find. Before dawn, look south for a bright light
in the constellation Sagittarius: sky
more images: from
Mike Salway of Central Coast, NSW Australia; from
Christopher Go of Cebu City, Philippines;
"The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the sun's favorite toys,"
says photographer Mila
Zinkova, who offers two examples from May 6th. "When the
sun was setting behind the South Tower of the bridge, a sundog danced
just above the North Tower: photo.
But the show was not over yet. A few minutes later, the sun displayed
its red and green rims for the bridge and me to enjoy."
Red and green rims are caused by refraction of light in Earth's
atmosphere, especially the low atmosphere where air density
gradients produce strong light-bending effects. Green light is bent
more than red, producing the observed separation of colors: diagram.
Never seen such a thing? It's no wonder: Red and green rims are
razor thin and they wrap around something blindingly bright. A good
zoom lens and proper filters are required; the bridge is optional.
2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky