Top Ten Astronomy Pictures of 2008

Ken AshfordScience & TechnologyLeave a Comment

Amazing photos, especially when you read the entertaining words that accompany (and explain) them.


Above are two pictures of gamma-ray bursts which are, essentially, stars collapsing and creating an explosion.

But not just your run-of-the-mill explosion.  Mega-huge explosions.  Even though these explosions lasted mere seconds, each one puts out more energy in their explosions in those few seconds than the entire output of our Sun since the history of time.

And the gamma burst on the right?  That's 12.8 billion light years away.  That means that the explosion in the photograph actually happened 12.8 billion years ago — before the formation of Earth, before the formation of our Sun, before the formation of our galaxy.  The light is only now reaching us.

And although I've posted this before, here's my favorite astronomy "picture" of 2008.  Throughout the history of mankind, we've seen the Moon go across the sky.  And the Sun go across the sky.  Occasionally, we see the Moon cross in front of the Sun (a solar eclipse), or we see the shadow of the Earth on the Moon (a lunar eclipse). 

But no man has have never seen an actual image of the Moon transversing the Earth.  Until last month, when we received these images from a deep space probe: