Dust (the zodiacal light) pointing at dust (the Milky Way band)
One is the remnants of our solar system’s birth, and the other holds the seeds for solar systems dead and yet to come. Some more dusty goodness to go along with this week’s dusty episode of IOTBS on YouTube.
Photo by the superbly talented Cory Schmitz (Flickr, used with permission)
Daylight breaks over Chile’s Paranal Observatory with the dusty arm of the Milky Way overhead. Think about it next time you clean your house: All that wispy beauty up there, it’s just dirt.
Dust and dirt and the amazing things they do (including a look at the arms of our galaxy) will be the focus of an upcoming It’s Okay To Be Smart video in April. Think of this as a little Austin Kleon inspired #showyourwork. Keep your eyes peeled for that one (and try not to get dust in them).
(photo by Babak Tafreshi via APOD)
Star and firefly trails, from Vincent Brady’s “Firefly Time-Lapse” (which you seriously need to go watch, like right now … what are you waiting for?)
Come Fly With Me…
Through the southern and equatorial skies, thanks to this gorgeous animation from the Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA) project. You can read more about this project, including some interesting findings about how galaxies are organized in our universe, at No Place Like Home, Nadia Drake’s wonderful new space blog at National Geographic.
Ahh, ain’t it grand? Galaxy after galaxy, each dot a world of worlds, stacked stellar swirls extending deep into the reaches of deepest space. There so much muchness out there.
Check out the full GAMA fly through video below:
My head’s still fuzzy from running my marathon this morning, so all it can really handle is looking at mesmerizing startrails and gorgeous astroscapes. But, um, you guys see the dragons too, right?
Borrego Stardance is the latest from Gavin Heffernan and Sunchaser Pictures. It takes us to the town of Borrego Springs, California, home to a rather motley assortment of strange metal sculptures (dragons, scorpions, mammoths, etc.) and one of the world’s handful of official “dark sky communities”, where access to the deepest reaches of the cosmos is actively protected from urban light pollution.
Popular Science called this the most trippy time lapse they’d ever seen, and I have to agree. In a good way.
You’re gonna want to give this one the full screen, speakers up treatment.
The Rare “Zodiacal Light”
Photographer Justin Ng captures a rare sight in a gorgeous time-lapse video taken over the volcanoes surrounding Mt. Bromo. Here’s the full video:
As the Milky Way comes into view, a diffuse, glowing triangle becomes apparent even though the sun is far below the horizon. In the photo below, by Ng, you’ll notice that the glowing triangle contains the planets Venus, Saturn, and Mercury:
This is sunlight, reflected from below the horizon, bouncing off of faint dust that lingers in our solar system’s planetary disk, the zodiacal plane itself. This so-called “zodiacal light" is the result of leftover debris from the formation of the planets, light so faint that even moonlight will obscure it.
This is what’s left from the birth of our home and its neighbors, glowing in the springtime night. Wow.