Youthful NGC 362 Globular Cluster

A Young Globular Cluster

Youthful NGC 362 Globular Cluster

Earlier this week NASA released this dazzling image of NGC 362. It is one of about 150 known globular clusters on the outskirts of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Globular clusters are giant spheres that contain hundreds of thousands of stars and reside in the outskirts of galaxies. The ESA says NGC 362 is unusual:

By studying the different elements present within individual stars in NGC 362, astronomers discovered that the cluster boasts a surprisingly high metal content, indicating that it is younger than expected. Although most globular clusters are much older than the majority of stars in their host galaxy, NGC 362 bucks the trend, with an age lying between 10 and 11 billion years old. For reference, the age of the Milky Way is estimated to be above 13 billion years.

This image, in which you can view many of NGC 362’s individual stars, was taken by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) If you want a new desktop image, here’s the 42 MB full-size original (it will automatically download).

Big Blue Marble

NASA has recently published highest resolution image of the Earth from space ever. The 64-megapixel image of Earth was captured by the VIIRS instrument on NASA’s most recently launched Earth-observing satellite, the Suomi NPP. You can read more about the Suomi NPP at its official website.

Most Amazing High Definition Image of Earth - Blue Marble 2012
Photo via NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring

Make sure to see this sucker full size to really appreciate the details and download it for your desktop. We all live in a beautiful place.

Colorful/Super Moon


Photo credit: Noel Carboni

The image above, click it for a wallpaper sized version, is a composite of 15 exposures digitally stitched together. According to photographer Noel Carboni:

Looking through the viewfinder I swept across the surface in a zig-zag fashion, trying for about 1/3 overlap between frames. I triggered the shutter with my TC80-N3 remote timer/controller. I did the stitching by hand in Photoshop.

Since it was taken at the camera’s most noise-free setting (ISO 100), the data is very accurate, and thus I was able to strongly increase the saturation via Photoshop’s Image – Adjust – Hue/Saturation function.

The fascinating color differences along the lunar surface are real, though highly exaggerated, corresponding to regions with different chemical compositions. And while these color differences are not visible to the eye even with a telescope, moon watchers can still see a dramatic lunar presentation tonight thanks to a fluke of orbital mechanics that brings the moon closer to Earth than that it has been in more than 18 years. At its peak, the supermoon of March 2011 may appear 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than lesser full moons. However, to the casual observer, it will probably be hard to tell the difference.

Extended Desktop Wallpapers

These cool images by Mike Ruiz take the familiar Mac and Windows OS desktop wallpapers and extend them beyond their original frames.

A series of images with white area added to the sides and then put through Content-Aware Fill (a Photoshop CS5 tool that automatically generates content based on the existing content of the image and fills in the surrounding blank space). The resulting image is an extended view as interpreted by the software.

Default Windows XP Wall Paper, Bliss
Default Windows XP Wall Paper

The Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard wallpaper, Aurora
The Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard wallpaper, Aurora

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