I am simply taken back by the beauty of this shot. This is none other than the famed M78 nebula in the constellation Orion. What is even more impressive is that this was a contest winning shot by an amateur astronomical photographer Igor Chekalin. The contestants didn’t actually shoot the photographs, but they took data shot from an observatory. Through hours of interpreting, and enhancing details within the data that the large telescopes of the European Southern Observatory images such as the one above were discovered. The level of detail here is simply amazing. The interstellar dust in the image take on a cloud-like quality. You can almost see images appear in the details of the picture, much like you would when observing clouds here on Earth on a summer day.
If you would like to see what others were able to find in this contest, be sure to click the picture. This just goes to show you that some of the most beautiful, artful, or moving things in the world are not discovered or created by professionals.
- Amateur Astronomer Contest Reveals Universe’s Beauty (space.com)
- Zoom into the Orion Nebula (newscientist.com)
- Amateur Astronomers: Tips for Finding Exoplanets (brighthub.com)
- More Than a Pretty Face: A New Look at the Orion Nebula (cbsnews.com)