IYL 2015 Images

  • ESOLaserGuide_720

    Lasers In The Sky Atacama Desert, Chile

    From applications in fields of manufacturing to medicine to the military, lasers are all around us. While there are many different types of lasers, there are some commonalities among them. All lasers are based on controlling the way that energized atoms release photons, or packets of light. Lasers emit light coherently allowing it to be focused to a tight spot up close or over long distances. This image shows one innovative use of lasers. By beaming a laser into the sky, astronomers can measure and then compensate for the blurring effects of the Earth's atmosphere, allowing for clearer images of distant cosmic objects.
    Image Credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi (twanight.org)
    view and download image here. http://lightexhibit.org/photoindex.html

  • HotAirBalloonHigh_720

    Blue Skies, Guanajuato, Mexico

    Our clear skies on Earth are blue because the atoms and molecules in the planet's atmosphere scatter the blue part of sunlight the most, making it appear as if it is coming from all directions. The face of the Moon is visible too because of light from the Sun. As sunlight strikes the lunar surface, it is reflected, making this otherwise dark world visible from Earth. The phases of the Moon change throughout the month depending on how much of the lunar disk is illuminated by the Sun.
    Image Credit: © Tomas Castelazo | http://www.tomascastelazo.com/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA-3.0
    view and download image here. http://lightexhibit.org/photoindex.html

  • MoonGlobe-1_720

    Full Moon 1.25 light-seconds

    Virtually everyone can see the Moon, no matter where on Earth they are thanks to sunlight being reflected off the lunar surface. About 14% of the sunlight incident on the Moon is reflected. Recent robotic missions to the Moon have revealed the existence of water ice hidden the craters that are permanently in shadow at the lunar poles. Lunar samples brought back by Apollo astronauts suggest that the Moon was formed billions of years ago when a rock about the size of Mars hit the young Earth. The debris scattered by that collision orbited the Earth briefly before coalescing into the Moon that we see illuminated in our night sky today.
    Image Credit: Jean-Luc Dauvergne/Ciel Et Espace
    view and download image here. http://lightexhibit.org/photoindex.html

  • antennae

    Antennae Galaxies 62 million light years

    The Antennae are two galaxies in the process of merging. They were once spiral galaxies like our Milky Way, but they have been interacting and colliding for hundreds of millions of years and are morphing into a new object. Infrared and visible light captured in this image from the Hubble Space Telescope give us clues about the cosmic chaos going on. Clouds of gas are shown in pink and red, while the cores of the galaxies, where some of the older stars remain, are yellow. The blue-colored points and regions are where star formation, triggered by the galactic collisions, are happening at a furious rate. Astronomers think this light-filled cosmic postcard is a preview of what will happen to our Galaxy when the Milky Way and its neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, collide in a few billion years.
    Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team (STSCI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration
    view and download image here. http://lightexhibit.org/photoindex.html

  • archives_herca_720

    Hercules A About 1.9 billion light years

    Some galaxies are extremely bright in different wavelengths of light. This is because their centers contain a supermassive black hole that is pulling in matter at a prodigious rate. In visible light (colored red, green and blue, with bright galaxies appearing white), Hercules A looks like a typical elliptical galaxy. In X-ray light, however, a giant cloud of multimillion-degree gas (shown in purple) is detected. This gas has been heated by energy generated by the infall of matter into the black hole at the center of Hercules A that is over 1,000 times as massive as the one in the middle of the Milky Way. Radio data (in blue) show jets of particles streaming away from the black hole, spanning a length of almost one million light years.
    Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO, Optical: NASA/STScI, Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA
    view and download image here. http://lightexhibit.org/photoindex.html