Here are a few images that either don’t belong anywhere else, or for which I don’t yet have enough to warrant their own pages!
|First of all, at the start of 2007 we saw the brightest comet in perhaps 40 years – Comet McNaught. Although it was best seen in the Southern Hemisphere, plenty of people in northern latitudes did get good images. I wasn’t one of them
Here are the best (heavily processed) frames I could come up with.
At least I saw the comet – plenty other (more experienced) observers missed out through bad weather.
Spectroscopy is the study of remote objects (often stars) by analysing the light they give off. In essence, it involves spreading the light out – for instance, using a prism – and looking at the result. Different elements absorb light, or glow, at certain colours (frequencies), resulting in bright or dark lines on the rainbow (spectrum). By analysing the spectrum, you can work out the chemicals present in a star thousands of ligh-years away, or in gas clouds between the star and the Earth. (Helium was first identified as a ‘mystery’ element in the spectrum of the sun, hence the name – after Helios, the Greek god of the sun).
Like many aspects of astronomy, this is now well within the reach of amateurs nowadays. Here are the spectra of three bright stars – alpha Persei, alpha Arietis, and Capella:
I’ve been staggered by some of the images returned from the NASA Spirit and Opportunity rovers. These little craft have far outlived their expected mission, and continue to provide great new science.
I was lucky enough to be in Iceland recently and on a trip to the desert highlands I was impressed at how similar the barren landscape was to the Mars rovers images. Just for fun I ran them through Photoshop and tried to see how close a match I could get.