On February 1, 2003, seven heroic astronauts were lost with the Space Shuttle Columbia over North Texas during the shuttles re-entry. They were all brave men and women who gave their lives for space explorations. There was one last message from one crew member named Laurel Clark to the people of Earth. Before she departed to her last shuttle flight home she sent an email to her family and close friends. She told them of every incredible awe-inspiring moment she had experienced.
"Whenever I do get to look out, it is glorious. Even the stars have a special brightness." -Laurel Clark
Just in time for the holidays! East of Orion lies a heavenly garden with extraordinary wonders andorned in cosmic lights. In this wide field mosaic by David Lindemann we are treated to an incredibly detailed view of the Rosette and Cone Nebula. Both are found in the constellation of the Unicorn (Monoceros) and can be viewed through a small telescope on dark winter and early spring nights.
Out there in the deep reaches of outer space, an incredible trio of stellar nurseries is booming with newborn stars. Astrophotographer Terry Hancock captured a dazzling image of this cosmic trio from Fremont Michigan. Each one of these nebulae are unique with their own awe-inspiring stories and intergalactic happenings. Let your mind take a journey into each nebula as we describe them below and imagine the incredible possibilites of unexplored worlds and stellar wonders.
The Southwest is rich in history and peppered with amazing sites left behind by the indigenous people of the ancient Americas. The heavens were carefully tracked and documented by the natives who once thrived in these sacred lands. Their knowledge was so precise they could predict the very moment of the start of new season. The imprint and legends they left behind were nothing short of remarkable.
It looks more like a scene from a sci-fi movie than an actual scene on Earth. Photographer James Garlick captured this mind blowing photo when he arrived at a beach in Tasmania, Australia on May 18th, 2015. What he saw took his breath away. He stood in awe at the enchanted glowing waves gliding under the billions of stars in the Milky Way. The bright blue waves were indeed a rare and exciting sight and highly sought after by any one who goes there.
As technology progresses we lose the magic of the night. It's a sad reality that many people never look at the stars anymore because they can't see them. They have forgotten there is a night sky at all. We can change this and bring back the awe-inspiring twinkling night that we used to have. We can fight light pollution!
As if Pluto hasn't impressed our socks off already this year, today NASA revealed an amazing discovery. No one could have guessed this distant tiny object would have skies of blue! The first color images of Pluto’s atmospheric hazes, returned by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft last week, reveal that the hazes are blue.
You may not know him, but if there was ever a kid destin for the stars it is this young man. While other boys his age are playing video games, he is studying the stars, receiving awards for discovering brand new asteroids, and presenting inspiring astronomy lectures to kids all over the world. He is only 14 and hitting the astronomy community by storm.
These aren't your average everyday selfies. Each photo is unique and creative because the photographer captured their own image against the ultimate backdrop, our Milky Way. When one spends so much time under the big open night sky, there is no escaping contemplating the deeper meaning of the universe. Whether we star gaze alone, with friends, or with the one we love, we can't help but feel small and humbled in the grandeur of the cosmos. We come to the understanding we are part of something so incredible and so much larger than ourselves. It was hard picking just one photo from each talented photographer. Please click the link under each name to see more captivating images of our night sky. Thank you to all the photographers who contributed images. The last image is an open invitation for anyone who would like to experience a front row seat to the most amazing show this planet has ever seen. We invite you to go out and enjoy the magic of the night as the Milky Way puts on an unforgettable cosmic show!