Cosmic wolf's lair

home  submit  archive  Ask 

The Dolphin Nebula (Barnard 252)
Located among the incredibly dense star fields of Scorpius lies a beautiful little dark nebula; Barnard 252. There appears to exist very little, if any, information about this striking absorbing cloud, and it has no popular name. Some think it bears a strong resemblance to a jumping dolphin so they call it The Dolphin Nebula.  This interstellar cloud is sufficiently dense to completely block the light from thousands of background stars in the direction towards our galactic centre. These clouds are full of tiny dust particles, each less than a micrometre in size. Optical wavelengths are easily absorbed by this dust and therefore the nebulae appear dark against any background light. However, radio and infrared wavelengths can penetrate the clouds and allow a peek inside where star formation often occurs. Credits: Taken from my observatory in Auckland, New Zealand/From Rolf Olson Astrophotography

Milkyway over Mount Assiniboine by Atanu Bandyopadhyay

Northern Lights 2014 by Morten Aspaas

Saturn’s moons Rhea and Epimetheus transiting.

Saturn has a great many more moons than our planet – a whopping 62. A single moon, Titan, accounts for an overwhelming 96% of all the material orbiting the planet, with a group of six other smaller moons dominating the rest. The other 55 small satellites whizzing around Saturn make up the tiny remainder along with the gas giant’s famous rings.
One of the subjects of this Cassini image, Rhea, belongs to that group of dominating six. Set against a backdrop showing Saturn and its intricate system of icy rings, Rhea dominates the scene and dwarfs its tiny companion, one of the 55 small satellites known as Epimetheus.
Although they appear to be close to one another, this is a trick of perspective – this view was obtained when Cassini was some 1.2 million km from Rhea, and 1.6 million km from Epimetheus, meaning the moons themselves had a hefty separation of 400 000 km.
However, even if they were nearer to each other, Rhea would still loom large over Epimetheus: at 1528 km across and just under half the size of our own Moon, Rhea is well over 10 times the size of Epimetheus, which is a modest 113 km across.
 As is traditional for the earliest discovered moons of Saturn, both are named after figures from Greek mythology: the Titan Rhea (“mother of the gods”) and Prometheus’ brother Epimetheus (“after thinker” or “hindsight”).

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute, G. Ugarković
Read more about Cassini and it’s mission here. Logikblok.

More photos on

Svinafellsjökull : Maurice Lepetit

Perseid Meteor Shower | Alexis Birkill Photography



A ‘Ring of Fire’ solar eclipse is a rare phenomenon that occurs when the moon’s orbit is at its apogee: the part of its orbit farthest away from the Earth. Because the moon is so far away, it seems smaller than normal to the human eye. The result is that the moon doesn’t entirely block out our view of the sun, but leaves an “annulus,” or ring of sunlight glowing around it. Hence the term  “annular” eclipse rather than a “total” eclipse.

I’m in complete awe.


Western Veil Nebula by ibmmt on Flickr.