How about those header images? Aren’t they gorgeous? Most of them are nebulae, the massive clouds of elementary particles and plasma that coalesce into solar systems like our very own.
If it weren’t for stars, and the fusion of lighter elements into heavier ones that occurs in their constant explosions, we wouldn’t exist. The carbon that forms the framework for life and the oxygen that we use to generate energy are both created inside of stars (not to mention gold, aluminium, plutonium, etc…).
Cosmology popularists, such as Carl Sagan, are fond saying that we are made of “star stuff,” and the observation is factual. When you see a cloud of dust in these astrophotographs, you are seeing the seeds of life. If the nebula is pink, there’s a good chance that planets are forming. Humbling, eh?
I think these pictures are as pretty as anything on our planet. Every Friday, I’m going to try and incorporate a new image into the rotation, and take one of the old ones out. Maybe I’ll make a page that serves as a repository for the retired banners. Hopefully it’ll have you coming back each week to see what’s new. Just surf around the site and watch them change randomly.
To learn more about astrophotography, the astrophotographers themselves, and the equipment they use, check out Antonio Fernandez’s website. Antonio takes some of the most breathtaking nebula shots this side of the Hubble.