I love the Universe. Everything in it! (OK, some things niggle me slightly, but they’re part of the Universe too, so I can put up with them!)
I hardly know anything about the workings of the Universe, not in this lifetime, anyway, but I love finding out snippets here, facts there and pictures everywhere! I’ve found some images that tie in nicely with my Halloween theme for this month. They are only images I have found online, and although I have recently upgraded my mobile phone to one of those super duper models with in-built Satellite Navigation, my handy mobile device doesn’t have the imaging capabilities to take snaps such as these. But it might… I haven’t tried yet. I’ll have a go, and see what happens…
This first image is of the Witch Head Nebula. A gas cloud that is illuminated by the supergiant star Rigel, in Orion. Rigel, by the way is the sixth brightest star in the sky. And looking at Orion, where Betelgeuse is top left, Rigel is bottom right. Can you see why the nebula got it’s name? Only kidding! I think it’s pretty obvious!
This nebula was discovered by a German astronomer, Maximilian Franz Joseph Cornelius Wolf (June 21, 1863 – October 3, 1932), Max Wolf for short.
So, we start with a witch and find a wolf. What’s next?
As we’ve had a witch, why not go for a wizard? The Wizard Nebula at first glance doesn’t seem to look like anything, apart from a swirl of colour, but then the magic appears! You can notice a wizard casting a spell with arms held wide open, and he is wearing a pointed hat to boot! Well, that’s what I see… German born British astronomer
Caroline Lucretia Herschel (16 March 1750 – 9 January 1848) discovered this nebula in 1787. Caroline’s brother William discovered Uranus.
William Herschel (15 November 1738 – 25 August 1822) also discovered this, the Cat’s Eye Nebula in February 1786.
It is some 3300 light years away from Earth, and is one of the most complex nebulae known.
The star at the centre lost it’s outer ‘shell’ about one thousand years ago, and the nebula was created as a result.
Edward Emerson Barnard (or E.E. Barnard; December 16, 1857 – February 6, 1923) was an American astronomer who recorded the Snake Nebula. Incidentally, Edward provides a link to the early Seventeenth Century in the fact that he was the first person to discover one of Jupiter’s moons since Galileo in 1609. This nebula is a concentration of dust and dark matter that does not allow the light from other stars to pass through it.
This nebula is called the Tarantula Nebula, and it provides another indirect link to the Seventeenth Century. The nebula contains the remnants of a star that went supernova in 1987; the closest supernova to Earth to be observed since the invention of telescopes in the 17th century. Hans Lippershey (1570 – 1619) is credited as the inventor of the telescope in 1608.
What I find eerie in this image are the little faces that appear when you look at the bottom left… spooky!
I doubt I’ll be able to take any photos such as these for two reasons. Firstly, the lens in my mobile phone probably wouldn’t pick them up, and secondly, I don’t own a telescope. But at least with the internet I can now get to see sights such as these without leaving the mansion. When I’m not flying through them, of course!