Astronomy

When darkness falls, the sky reveals its nocturnal beauty. From a dark location, far from the city glow, a couple witness the myriad of stars shinimage-1ing brightly from the heavens.

Youthful blue star clusters and red emissions form wisps of glowing hydrogen gas, indicative of star forming regions, which snake along the galaxy’s spiral arms. Arching across the sky, the Milkyway galaxy is home to about 200 billion stars and hundreds if not thousands of relativey small blackholes including at the galactic core, a mega sized blackhole that drives the rotation of all the stars in the entire galaxy.

Trillions of miles away from a time way before humans even existed on our planet, the light from many thousands of stars began making their voyage across interstellar space, carrying with them, the life story of their parent stars.

Focused by your ocular media and slamming onto your retina at 186,000 miles per second, the cosmic messengers, photons of visible light, stimulate the photosensitive cells in the retinal tissue at the back of your eye providing a visual sensation. Excited with a spectral range of energies, the rods and cones in your retinal membrane relay electrical signals to the visual cortex region of your brain via a bundle of fibrous nerve cells. There, the electrical signals are converted into images, meaning that you don’t actually perceive the world with your eyes, but rather your brain creates the world around you.

A telescope allows us to look back in time giving us a closer inspection of the cosmic treasures that lie within our own galaxy and beyond. Peering through a telescope from dark skies, one can witness the dazzling array of beauty in the depths of the heavens. Telescopic images reveal a universe filled with colour that the eye can only dimly perceive.

tumblr_mjxhvhhVp21qzvtuuo1_500Gaseous filaments of stardust reveal themselves in immensely beautiful shapes, structures, symmetries and colours. Most of these celestial landscapes lie within a few thousand light years. Within a few tens of millions of light years bloom hundreds of bright majestic sprial, elliptical and irregular shaped galaxies, some resembling the Milkway.

By catching star light and permitting it to channel into a spectrograph we can decipher its chemical composition. By increasing the resolution of the spectrograph grating we can untangle closely spaced spectral features revealing ever more detail concerning the kinematics, thermodynamics, the possible possession of circumstellar disks and revealing the elemental composition of the tenuous gas that occupies the interstellar space.

 

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