Posted in aerospace, astronomy, electronic imaging and displays

Galactic shots

Still crunch time for me…

But, Wired Science has been posting some great photos of galaxies, stars, and other celestial bodies, so I figured I’d fill my web page with lots of those.


First Up: Eye-shaped galaxy.

with black hole iris
with black hole iris

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope delivered this crazy looking eye-shaped galaxy image.

The iris of the eye is actually a ring of stars surrounding the area around an enormous, invisible black hole that is around 100 million times the mass of the sun and far larger than our galaxy’s central black hole. The stars show up white and the space around the black hole is blue in this color-coded infrared image.

“The ring itself is a fascinating object worthy of study because it is forming stars at a very high rate,” Kartik Sheth, an astronomer at NASA’s Spitzer Science Center, said in a press release.

In infrared light, shorter wavelengths look blue, and longer wavelengths appear red. Astronomers think the smaller blue galaxy peeking through the spiral arms may have actually punched a hole in the larger galaxy.

Next: A silhouette of the docked space shuttle at the space station against a full sun.

A French photographer has captured a stunning photo of the space shuttle Endeavor docked with the International Space Station crossing the face of the sun. You couldn’t just aim your digital camera at the sky and get results like this. Thierry Legault, who is known for his amazing astronomical imagery, uses specialized solar filters to capture the images.

Finally: Stellar Explosion! X-Ray Telescope’s First 10 Years of Awesome Images

Ten years ago this month, NASA launched the Chandra X-Ray Observatory aboard the space shuttle Columbia. And it has provided stunning images from the high-energy side of the electromagnetic spectrum ever since.

Things have gone so well that the the Chandra team gave themselves a well-deserved pat on the back.

“Chandra’s discoveries are truly astonishing and have made dramatic changes to our understanding of the universe and its constituents,” Martin Weisskopf, Chandra project scientist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, said in a press release.

NASA created a list of Chandra’s top 10 scientific discoveries, but we’re suckers for the pretty pictures it produces of supernova remnants and pulsar jets and the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. We’ve entered a selection of Chandra images into the Reddit widget for you to vote on — or you can add your own.




Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.