Hubble eXtreme Deep Field

There Are At Least 10 Times More Galaxies In The Universe Than We Thought

The universe suddenly looks a lot more crowded.

Waaaaay back in 1995, the Hubble Deep Field images surprised the world by revealing how crammed the universe is with galaxies. At that time astronomers estimated there were about 200 billion galaxies in the universe. Recent estimates put that count closer to 2 trillion, at least 10 times as many galaxies as we thought. However, about 90% of the galaxies in the observable Universe are actually too faint and too far away to be seen or studied. Phil Plait explains:

Now, let me be clear. This doesn’t meant the Universe is ten times bigger than we thought, or there are ten times as many stars. I’ll explain — I mean, duh, it’s what I do — but to cut to the chase, what they found is that there are lots of teeny, faint galaxies very far away that have gone undetected. So instead of being in a smaller number of big galaxies, stars are divvied up into a bigger number of smaller ones.

And it doesn’t mean the Universe has 10 times more mass than we thought. The mass is the same, it’s just distributed differently than we thought. It’s like knowing there are 1 million people in a city, and finding out they live in 100,000 buildings when you thought they were only in 10,000. There are more buildings, but not more people

This discovery has also helped lead to explanations for Olbers’ paradox which states, “Why is the sky dark at night if the universe contains a multitude of stars?” NASA helps explain:

The team came to the conclusion that indeed there actually is such an abundance of galaxies that, in principle, every patch in the sky contains part of a galaxy. However, starlight from the galaxies is invisible to the human eye and most modern telescopes due to other known factors that reduce visible and ultraviolet light in the universe. Those factors are the reddening of light due to the expansion of space, the universe’s dynamic nature, and the absorption of light by intergalactic dust and gas. All combined, this keeps the night sky dark to our vision.

The sky is literally covered in galaxies! Mind boggling to be sure!

When People Are Told They’re Beautiful

You so are beautiful – lovely words for anyone to hear. Travel Photographer Mehmet Genç’s “Very Beautiful” project is a simple idea: He tells people he meets on his travels that they’re beautiful and then photographs their reactions. His images truly demonstrate transformative power of kind words. Images from the project are below. The results are sure to bring a smile to your face. You can learn a little more about each of Mehmet’s subjects on the project’s website (translated). You can also follow his travels on his Instagram.

Project Apollo Archive 41

The Moon 1968–1972

Project Apollo Archive 41

During all six of NASA’s manned lunar landings, astronauts were armed and trained to use modified Hasselblads. During the Apollo missions, NASA’s astronauts took photos of moon landings, moon walks, the lunar surface, the horizon, and the Earth with these cameras. The results included over 20,000 photographs by 13 astronauts over six lunar landing missions. This huge trove of photographs are cataloged at The Project Apollo Archive. NASA also released a large number of these photos on Flickr back in 2015. The photo above is one of my favorites from this collection.

Though shot originally for scientific purposes, many of the photos have an extraordinary aesthetic value that encompasses an inadvertently artful composition. The fine folks at T. Alder Books have sorted through the nearly 15,000 of these photos and came up with 45 images that consist of “unintended artful compositions” and a “beautiful, deft outtake quality,”. The collection will be released in a book entitled The Moon 1968–1972 that will be released later this month.

At a time when archival images are often hastily assembled into digital galleries that get passed around briefly on social media, it’s especially satisfying to sit with an affordable ($18), carefully edited, designed and printed archive of photographs of historical significance and esthetic value. Texts include excerpts from a speech President John F. Kennedy made about the Apollo program, and from an E.B. White story for The New Yorker recalling the first moon landing.

Phoenix Microburst 1

Photographs Of A Microburst Pouring Down On Pheonix

Phoenix Microburst 1

Phoenix Microburst 2

Helicopter Reporter Jerry Ferguson (with help from Pilot Andrew Park took these unbelievable photos earlier this week while filming the weather for a local television station. No, it is not an A-bomb detonated over Phoenix. The photo depicts a dangerous weather phenomenon known as a microburst.

Microbursts are small but powerful rushes of rain-cooled air that collapse toward the ground from a parent thunderstorm. They are basically like a tornado in reverse – while a tornado funnels wind in and up, a microburst’s wind is funneled down and out. Microbursts are created by the downdrafts found in strong thunderstorms and are triggered by two main physical processes — the drag that’s created by falling rain and hail, and evaporation. Once the downdraft hits the ground, the wind — with gusts up to 150 mph — spread out over the land in all directions.

Microburst Crosssection

Below is a timelapse video of the same storm shot by Bryan Snider from the vantage point of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport. The rainshafts in this footage make it look like Mother Nature turned on a faucet.



Via Colossal

Aerial Lightning 2

Dramatic Aerial Thunderstorm Photos

Aerial Lightning 2

Aerial Lightning 1

As an official member of the Cloud Appreciation Society, photos like these make me swoon. These shots are from Ecuador Airlines pilot Santiago Borja. The first was captured through a Boeing 767-300 cockpit window at 37,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean. The second was taken last October along the coast of Venezuela.

In the Washington Post, Borja explained the obstacles he met when taking these types of photos. “Storms are tricky because the lightning is so fast, there is no tripod and there is a lot of reflection from inside lights,” he said. Turbulence and near darkness also added complications to the shot.

View more of Borja’s travel and storm photos on Instagram.
via Colossal

Fish In A Jellyfish

Fish Trapped Inside A Jellyfish

Fish In A Jellyfish

Australian Ocean photographer, Tim Samuel, captured these astonishing photos of a fish swallowed whole by a jellyfish near Byron Bay, New South Wales. The fish is possibly a juvenile trevally, which are known to use jellyfish stingers as protection. On his Instagram account Tim says, “He was trapped in there but controlled where the Jellyfish was moving.” The photographer had initially considered trying to set the fish free, but ultimately determined “to let nature take its course.”

Fish In A Jellyfish

Best Selfies

Does A Deep Neural Network Like Your #Selfie?

Best Selfies
Andrej Karpathy trained a Convolutional Neural Network with a dataset of 2 million photographs to determine what makes the perfect selfie. The image above contains the top 100 best selfies (here are the 1,000 best selfies) Andrej concludes that the best selfies have these qualities:

  1. Be female. Women are consistently ranked higher than men. In particular, notice that there is not a single guy in the top 100.
  2. Face should occupy about 1/3 of the image. Notice that the position and pose of the face is quite consistent among the top images. The face always occupies about 1/3 of the image, is slightly tilted, and is positioned in the center and at the top. Which also brings me to:
  3. Cut off your forehead. What’s up with that? It looks like a popular strategy, at least for women.
  4. Show your long hair. Notice the frequent prominence of long strands of hair running down the shoulders.
  5. Oversaturate the face. Notice the frequent occurrence of over-saturated lighting, which often makes the face look much more uniform and faded out. Related to that,
  6. Put a filter on it. Black and White photos seem to do quite well, and most of the top images seem to contain some kind of a filter that fades out the image and decreases the contrast.
  7. Add a border. You will notice a frequent appearance of horizontal/vertical white borders.

Andrej also created a TwitterBot that will judge your selfie. Simply attach your selfie (or a include a link) to a tweet that mentions @deepselfie anywhere in it. The bot will analyze your selfie and give you its opinion (e.g. score 90% means that the Selfie Bot is 90% sure yours would be in top half of selfies. Selfie Bot was not impressed with my selfie.


More here.