Friday, April 07, 2006

When Roses Aren't Red

Credit & Copyright: Jay Ballauer (All About Astro, 3RF)

Explanation: Not all roses are red of course, but they can still be very pretty. Likewise, the beautiful Rosette Nebula and other star forming regions are often shown in astronomical images with a predominately red hue - in part because the dominant emission in the nebula is from hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen's strongest optical emission line, known as H-alpha, is in the red region of the spectrum, but the beauty of an emission nebula need not be appreciated in red light alone. Other atoms in the nebula are also excited by energetic starlight and produce narrow emission lines as well. In this gorgeous view of the Rosette's central regions, narrow band images are combined to show emission from sulfur atoms in red, hydrogen in blue, and oxygen in green. In fact, the scheme of mapping these narrow atomic emission lines into broader colors is adopted in many Hubble images of stellar nurseries. This image spans about 50 light-years in the constellation Monoceros, at the 3,000 light-year estimated distance of the Rosette Nebula.


Rusko Elvenwood said...

Some of us could spend hours clicking on links .... I love your blog. Good stuff!

JustinOther said...

very cool.

Stardust said...

why thank you! I try to make my blog a bit "interactive" I find this stuff fascinating too and if I could live another life I would for certain be an astronomer or astronaut.

Marcguyver said...

Yeesh.....that is one more swwweeeetttt picture!!

Adam Scanlan said...

Hey Stardust,

Check out the Two Percent Company's take on the same picture.

Stardust said...

Adam S,

This is hilarious! I didn't see any pattern like that at all when I was looking at it...LOL! Now it's like that one commentor said, "I can't shake the image from my head." What was once a beautiful image of the cosmos for me has turned into a cartoon.

Adam Scanlan said...

Hey Stardust,

Sorry for blowing the whole 'wonder and majesty of the universe' vibe for you (snigger).

I noticed some of your posts were about pareidolia, so I thought you'd get a kick out of it.

Like you, I didn't see the wheezy one either. I'm bloody useless when it comes to pareidolia. It always takes me ages to see stuff anything. It always goes something like this: "I can't believe you can't see the face of the ghost in the background of the painting. It's right there, plain as day." Me, some time later: "Oh, I see it now, but it's still lame."