Tag Archives: science

A Message from Mercury

Mercury Messenger Globe Animated GIF MilnersBlog*GIF Animation

And a colourful message at that, as they are some truly mind-blowing images coming NASA’s Messenger Spacecraft, the first ever spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury, and with its seven scientific/radio instruments its beginning to unravel the history and evolution of our Solar System’s innermost planet. Continue reading A Message from Mercury

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The Sky at Night

RIP Sir Patrick Moore

Sir Patrick Moore The Sky at Night Died 8 12 1212
Pleiades (The Seven Sisters)

If you read this blog, you’ll know I love Astronomy and the Planets, so it’s such sad news for me that the inspiration and institution that is Sir Patrick Moore from the BBC’s The Sky at Night has passed away, he really inspired me right to the very end in more ways than one, it was only the other day on the 6th of December that I feel asleep on the sofa, when I woke up Patrick Moore was on the TV talking about Mercury and the Moon and the latest news from Messenger which is over Mercury at the moment. He more poignantly talked about that it was forty years since the Moon was last visited by man in December 1972 and looked at the legacy that the Apollo 17 missions have left. After the programme finished at 1.30am in the morning, ‘totally inspired’ I got the camera out and spent some time in the garden taking photos of the Orion Constellation and Nebula, also Pleiades (The Seven Sisters) and wider star field shots on what was a crystal clear and cold night. Hopefully one those many stars will be twinkling for him now.

These pictures (which were already named Sky at Night over Leeds) are for you Patrick
…A true inspiration.

Orion The Sky at Night over Leeds 6_12_1212  02
Orion Constellation
Orion The Sky at Night over Leeds 6_12_1212  05
Orion Nebula
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Sky at Night over Leeds

Coronal Mass Ejection

Magnificent CME Erupts on the Sun - August 31
Most people will say that title sounds a little rude, but looking at these latest images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory of the Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) that happened on the 31st of August 2012, I have to say: there nothing short of being the sexiest pieces of Sun photography I’ve seen. Continue reading Coronal Mass Ejection

The Art of Mars

Mars Art Adrift on the Hourglass Sea 11Mars Art Adrift on the Hourglass Sea 1 Panorama
Whats not to love about Mars and while the recent landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars certainly has rekindled my excitement about the future images it’s going to release, Bert Ulrich at NASA’s Media Relations couldn’t wait. After he’d visited the Apollo Prophecies exhibition by artists Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick, the two were immediately approached and commissioned for a Mars Project using actual photo-mosaics of Mars taken by the NASA space rovers Spirit and Opportunity which they called Adrift on a Hourglass Sea …Kahn said of the project

“They [NASA] told us Mars is where we’re going to next and if you’re going to do this project we’d like you to do it about Mars,” . “We didn’t start thinking about mars until they told us to.”

The results are nothing short of outstanding, and is one exhibit I’d pay good money to go see, lets hope they come to the UK

Mars Art Adrift on the Hourglass SeaMars Art Adrift on the Hourglass Sea 4Mars Art Adrift on the Hourglass Sea PanoramaMars Art Adrift on the Hourglass Sea 1Mars Art Adrift on the Hourglass Sea 5Mars Art Adrift on the Hourglass Sea 6Mars Art Adrift on the Hourglass Sea 16Mars Art Adrift on the Hourglass Sea 2Mars Art Adrift on the Hourglass Sea 9
Whilst the images from Curiosity will show us Mars in amazing Ultra-Hi-Detail, it wont show us what it would be like to send humans to Mars, yet Kahn & Selesnick have pictured this in a way no one ever has, their stunning photo-montages depict a vivid red Martian landscape populated by two astronaut women climbing rock, walking among the Martian ruins, and giving birth to children.

Here’s an extract from a conversation the artists had with Sarah Falkner called:
The Wonderful and frightening World of the Kahn & Selesnick

Kahn & Selesnick’s latest body of work, Adrift on the Hourglass Sea, set in a Martian landscape in part documented by NASA rovers, has just launched its premiere exhibit at Boston gallery Carroll and Sons; the project will continue to evolve over 20II with viewings planned for New York, Chicago, Brussels and beyond.

Kahn & Selesnick’s multimedia narrative projects frequently depict societies in deep crisis and transition, with recent settings being a quasi-Weimar Germany (Eisbergfreistadt) and a Middle Eastern region ablaze with colonial exploitation and violence (City of Salt). City of Salt’s concerns with culture clashes and imagery of burning towers were intuited shortly before the events in New York City of 9/ I I /0I and Eisbergfreistadt’s denizens scrambling to maintain a bourgeois facade amidst currency crises and environmental disasters were photographed a year before the American real estate bubble began to burst. Just a week before “Adrift” opened in Boston, in an interesting–and, in light of previous prescient Kahn & Selesnick work, perhaps troubling synchronicity, Stephen Hawking made the following comments to the web­ site Big Think, which were reported in the larger press to some ballyhoo:

“I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space. It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn’t have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet. Let’s hope we can avoid dropping the basket until we have spread the load… Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain inward looking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space. We have made remarkable progress in the last hundred years. But if we want to continue beyond the next hundred years, our future is in space. That is why I’m in favor of manned, or should I say “personed, “space flight.”

Hawking’s self-correction in language regarding the gendering of space exploration is also firmly in sympathy with Kahn & Selesnick’s choice to populate the “Adrift” project solely with two women. We do not learn their names or how and when they came to Mars, but we observe their wanderings in the landscape which they make navigable and habitable with an amalgam of high-tech components retrofitted to found artefact’s and monuments that appear to be the remnants of a long-gone civilization. They seem to be outside of linear time–perhaps having escaped an Earth catastrophe and landing on Mars to find that its own history includes an apocalypse or perhaps having fled the red planet at the height of the Martian disaster only to return later in time and find their former home’s traces in the large stone acoustic devices d1at stand sentinel over bleak and infertile valleys, very like the Moai of Rapa Nui.

Kahn & Selesnick frequently invoke cyclical notions of time–The Apollo Prophecies is a Mobius strip of a narrative with American astronauts landing on the moon to find that Edwardian explorers have beat them to planting the flag of their homeland empire, and Scotland future bog invoked an ambivalently pre-or-post-industrial soci­ety barely able to keep their sheepskin-bedecked asses dry above the muck but at times able to navigate and augur with mystical and mechanical devices. With Adrift on the Hourglass Sea, Kahn & Selesnick once again deploy circularity and ambiguity in the service of disarming our contemporary delusions of linear progress, in the interest of dismantling our hubris.

The “Adrift” project contains large-scale panoramic photographs: varying-scale Martian artefacts including cast concrete, lead and tin boats, totemic figures and crystallized growths; and paintings and small-scale photographs. The photographs employ actual photo-mosaics of Mars taken by the NASA space rovers Spirit and Opportunity; desert landscapes in Nevada and Utah photographed by the artists; and WWI-era British Army structures photographed for Kahn & Selesnick by the artist Cathy Ward.

Orion Nebula: The Hubble View


Very few cosmic spacescapes excite my imagination in a way that the Orion Nebula does, this recently published ‘super hi-res’ image from the Hubble telescope is pretty damn epic.

(click to enlarge)

Also known as M42, the nebula’s glowing gas surrounds hot young stars at the edge of an immense interstellar molecular cloud only 1,500 light-years away. The Orion Nebula offers one of the best opportunities to study how stars are born partly because it is the nearest large star-forming region, but also because the nebula’s energetic stars have blown away obscuring gas and dust clouds that would otherwise block our view – providing an intimate look at a range of ongoing stages of starbirth and evolution. This detailed image of the Orion Nebula is the sharpest ever, constructed using data from the Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla 2.2 meter telescope. The mosaic contains a billion pixels at full resolution and reveals about 3,000 stars.

Source APOD