Friday, October 16, 2015

Top Pick Pics from NASA! - From the Desk of Thomas Dunlap

This post comes directly from the desk of Thomas Dunlap, the IT and Digital File Expert at Competition Printing:

Several years ago, we got into basic wide format printing. Our first wide format printer was a 6 color 60" HP DesignJet. I needed some sample prints to see the color capability and UV compatibility of our new printer. Naturally, I started with our Company Logo, which has several gradients, but only a little color. I realized I needed something more exciting.

I began to search for very high resolution images I could print, and also be worthy of putting on display. During my search, filtering through images of trees, bugs, and cities, I stumbled across a link to the Hubble Space Telescope archive of images.

I remember seeing images of nebulas and galaxies earlier in life, but never anything more than a pixelated snapshot of what looked like organized static. Everything else was an artist's rendering, or fake image that some artist created of what something might look like, if we could see it clearly. With this in mind, I figured it would be a bunch of pixelated images of space, so I thought I would at least take a look out of pure curiosity.

What I discovered was AMAZING:

NGC 3372 "The Carina Nebula"
The Carina Nebula: Star Birth in the Extreme

It turns out, the Hubble Telescope has some extremely high resolution capabilities! Early on, I selected some of my favorites at the time, and had them printed as samples. The prints were promptly pinned on my office wall, and I have received numerous compliments as people walked past my office, stopping to question if the pics were real.

While my collection at my office and home continues to grow, here are a few of my favorites, which are the ones currently hanging in my office (and they are, in fact, real images of space):

NGC 6543 "Cat's Eye Nebula"
The Cat's Eye Nebula: Dying Star Creates Fantasy-like Sculpture of Gas and Dust
A dying star surrounded by gas and dust.

V838 Monocerotis
A stellar explosion echoes off dust surrounding V838

NGC 6302 "Butterfly Nebula"
Gas at more than 36,000 degrees fahrenheit expands across space
at more than 600,000 miles an hour.

NGC 5189 "Holiday Ornament"
The intricate structure of this bright gaseous nebula resembles a glass-blown
holiday ornament with a glowing ribbon entwined

All of the above are nebulae, which are essentially heated gas and dust floating in space. While they are attributed as some of the most exotic images. The images that will really make you think about the insignificance of our existance are the images of galaxies and galaxy clusters:

UGC 1810 and UGC 1813 "The Rose"
Two interacting galaxies, causing distortion to both, creating
the rose shape.

Abell 2744 "Galaxy Cluster"
A "small" cluster of galaxies known as Abell 2744. Some of these
objects are 13 billion light-years away!

All these images, and hundreds more are available from NASA at the HubbleSite Gallery:

Since the images are taken by NASA, a government owned organization, they are in the public domain. That means you can use them for just about anything you wish. You could even have us print them for you to hang in your office too!