Tag Archives: Astrophotography

It’s a Boy! Astronomers Capture First Ever Image of an Exo-Planet Being Born

exo-planet

Well, sooner or later, they would’ve captured it—a photograph of a planet being born. And now, sooner than expected, astronomers did.

Unbelievable, isn’t it—how a planet could form entirely out of nothing, in space?

Astronomers captured the very first image of a planet forming in the dust, swirling around a young star. On Monday, July 2, scientists stated that the planet appears as a “bright spot in the snapshot”—which was taken using the “European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope” located in Chile. Moreover, Miriam Keppler (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy—Germany) said that hints of baby planets have been detected before, but yet astronomers weren’t really sure whether their observations were “features in the swirling dust.”
“Planets are born in circumstellar disks.” Keppler stated. “These disks are made out of gas and dust and surround young stars until a lifetime of about 10 million years. The exciting fact of our discovery is that we have here an exceptionally robust detection of a young planet, still embedded in such a disk.
The measurement of the spectrum gives us insights on how planetary atmospheres look at a very early stage of life. This is very important in order to calibrate theoretical models that predict the properties of planets as they evolve.”

According to a paper published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, scientists describe the planet as a gas giant bigger than Jupiter, located about 1.86 Billion miles from the star PDS-70. The astronomers say in the journal that the baby planet has a “cloudy atmosphere.” They also stated that the new planet has a surface temperature of about 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit.

Furthermore, lest the most important part as to the scientists’ study, is that the “sphere”—seen in the photograph above—blocks out the light from the star. This allows the researchers to observe the much-dimmer dust disk and planet at several different wavelengths. The old and new data show the distinct presence of a planet, thus leaving a gap behind it—followed by a trail.

 

Written by KFC, author of The 11th Syzygy, on 7/3/18.

A Van Gogh Painting? NASA Releases Photo of a Dazzling Jupiter That’s Beyond Realistic

Jupiter, Juno Spacecraft, Vincent Van Gogh

Jupiter is back yet again, showcasing what its surface has in store artistically, making it look as if it’s a piece of art. So far, Jupiter is the most photographed planet in our solar system, even more than the Earth itself (which is often taken by astronauts aboard the ISS.) All of the photos are taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft, and later uploaded on social media and their official blog. Over the time Jupiter has had many surfaces, in many colours—including the Great Red Spot—but yet this had been far more dazzling, to that of a masterpiece of a famous painter (take Van Gogh, if you will.)  Thus, the images Juno captures give NASA, as well as scientists and astronomers (who knows, maybe even followers of NASA) grief as to their early plan to extend Juno’s mission, instead of letting it plow before Jupiter’s atmosphere.

According to NASA’s official blog post—for which contained the first bit of the photograph—the image for where the distance was taken was approximately 9,600 miles, above the planet’s cloud tops. And although the distance can be long, there’s plenty to see, due to the fact that the planet is so massive.

NASA stated in the blog post, “The region seen here is somewhat chaotic and turbulent, given the various swirling cloud formations. In general, the darker cloud material is deeper in Jupiter’s atmosphere, while bright cloud material is high. The bright clouds are most likely ammonia or ammonia and water, mixed with a sprinkling of unknown chemical ingredients.

“A bright oval at bottom center stands out in the scene. This feature appears uniformly white in ground-based telescope observations. However, with JunoCam we can observe the fine-scale structure within this weather system, including other structures within it. There is not significant motion apparent in the interior of this feature; like the Great Red Spot, its winds probably slows down greatly toward the center.”

With countless mini swirls, slowly drifting off the upper atmosphere, countless of tiny, intricate details are hidden between the spinning storm clouds on this gigantic planet.

The picture (seen above) didn’t arrive from Juno in its current state. The color was somewhat enhanced by photography experts to bring out as much detail from the image as possible. Plenty of photographs (similar to the most recent one) can be found on NASA’s JunoCam Web Portal. 

Though the new image caught by the Juno Spacecraft takes center stage atop all others, I have an odd hunch that this is photograph is one of the many that will be captured in the following days…weeks…months.

—KFC, Author of The 11th Syzygy (6/26/18)