August 20, 2009


Ever so often I post beautiful images from an intriguing book, entitled Astronomy, 365 Days. This work contains 365 photographs, all linked to our universe. One for each day of the year. I received it as a gift and considering that this year is the International Year Of Astronomy, I find it fitting to share some of the most stunning images with you.

For the 20th of August, the image couldn't be more appropriate and appealing to the painter in me. Entitled "Elements Of The Swan Nebula", also called Omega Nebula, it depicts clouds and dust, the very elements from which new stars are born. The colours each represents known chemical components; red indicates emission from sulfur, green from hydrogen and blue from oxygen.
A talented painter could have not created a more formidable masterpiece...


steviewren said...

It is interesting that those elements are so colorful. Is there a reason they show up as colors in space?

Reading Tea Leaves said...

A very interesting post Protege. The exploration of space and the origins of our universe fascinate me. I will check out those links with interest and also your related posts.
You seem to have a good deal of knowledge on the subject - is this related to your profession - I recall that you are a scientist ...?!

G said...

More wonders of nature... thank you for sharing with us. I keep intending to learn more about the stars and other celestial bodies, as they intrigue me and delight me so much... haven't done much about it yet though.

Lulda Casadaga said...

I try and look up at the night sky as much as possible. I'm going camping this weekend and I hope I get to see some clear night sky! We have been having a lot of T-storms this week.

Love the picture! It reminds me of a batik piece...:) I have my 55 up early since I'll be out of town. Enjoy your weekend!

Betsy Brock said...

I love how God created the universe with so much wonder that after thousands of years, we have only begun to scratch the surface with all that there is to know and appreciate!

Diane said...

That would totally match Ryan's new room! ;)

Zuzana said...

as for the colour, I have no idea. But it is a very good question, I will try to ask Tom, my astronomer blog buddy and get back to you on that one.;))

thank you so much for your always kind words and comments. Yes, I too find the space incredibly fascinating. Yes, I am a biochemist, therefore I find science and research in all areas intriguing, although my knowledge of astronomy is very limited;)) xo

so good to see you back.;)) I agree completely. Sometimes there is just not enough time in the day to do all we want.;)) I bet you still manage to do a great deal of things I can only dream about.;))

have a really great weekend camping! I hope the skies will be clear for you so you can watch the stars; I know what you mean about the beauty of the night sky.;))

everything around us is divine and magical and I agree, sometimes we realize how little we really know. Even more the reason to be thankful that we get a chance to be a part of it all.;)) xo

loved that comment!!! Maybe there is a poster with the Omega Nebula you can buy for her as a gift; I am sure she would love it.;))

Tom said...

Protege asked me to comment on this picture.

I'm not that familiar with the Omega/Swan nebula but the colours in the picture look wrong although I suspect there has been a little manipulation in the image to make it even more beautiful than the original. What caught my interest is that hydrogen is normally depicted as red in astronomical images, not sulphur/sulfur, so it just looked wrong to me.

For steviewren: the elements (atoms) tend to emit very distinct colours, it's to do with the structure and physical behaviour of atoms. There are well known atoms in space (hydrogen, helium and a few others) and they shine at certain wavelengths. Astronomers know this so they take pictures using filters that only let light through from the atoms of interest. In order to make pretty pictures (after doing the science of course!) they combine these images to to make multi-coloured images, like the picture in Protege's post.

Our eyes are only sensitive to a very narrow band of light, but when you can use a camera, telescope and filters you can combine all those images to make some very colourful pictures!

You'll often see a disclaimer such as "false colour image". It means what I've tried to explain above, but can explain further if this isn't clear!

Betsy - I don't want to cause offense, but our Galaxy and universe are a little older than a few thousand years and I have to say in the last few decades we've done a little more than scratch the surface.

Best regards,

Unknown said...

awesome image Protege. I am curious what is for August 6?

Zuzana said...

thank you so much! Wow, that was a very ambitious comment, I guess Stevie got her answer.;)

for August 6 the image is entitled "The Dotted Dunes of March" and is a black and white image of what looks like dunes on March surface. Stunning!

Zuzana said...

Sorry, I meant Mars, not March.;))

Maria said...

How stars are born in nebulous dust! Right back to the mystery of creation...

Zuzana said...

so right you are, the magic of the universe never ceases to amaze me.;))

sallymandy said...

That's just stunning. Thanks for sharing this.

sprinkles said...

I think my father might also have this book. They have a magazine too, don't they?