Tuesday, April 13, 2010

National Geographic: May 1959: First Color Portraits of the Heavens

Our first look inside our old National Geographic collection is this article on a break through in color photography in astronomy. Previous to this film development, the full spectrum of color would not show up on photographs taken through the newly developed super telescopes in the Palomar Observatory in California. Some historical perspective is in order: Sputnik was launched by the Soviet Union in 1957, and later that year they sent a dog up with a rocket capsule. The U.S. successfully launched Explorer in 1958. It would not be until 1961 that a man would orbit the earth. So these pictures were news in 1959, as humanity took its first steps towards exploring outer space.

The photo shows a supernova, with hot stars nearby.

In the paragraph with this photograph of Andromeda, Hubble is mentioned. Now we get amazing pictures from the orbiting telescope with his name on it.

On the left a photo of a "hot star", to the right a nebula that is a part of the constellation Orion's sword.

Amazing and beautiful photo. The slight blurriness of the stars is not me, but the photo. It's hard to remember that everything in space is moving very fast. The photo is of a nebula in the Milky Way.

Amazing stuff here. The photo is of dust in the constellation Cygnus.

Remember, to embiggen, click on the photo. The back button brings you back.

4 comments:

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
I so much preferred these pictures of the starts to the endless bad simulations of Apollo going to the moon. It was a fake space capsule in a fake sky, and my Dad made we watch it in the name of 'history'.

Now, of course, simulations are far more worth watching (Industrial Light and Magic!)but at the time, ew.

I also love old magazines, especially when they teach you the history of thought--how nuts we were back then, how nuts we must be now.

Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Wow, two typos. We watched stars, although I suppose starts is not inaccurate--and my Dad made 'us' or 'me' watch it. Never mind.
Ann T.
Oh and my passcode is woops. No lie.

the observer said...

Ann T:
Thanks for looking in. As I prepared this post, I had to remind myself of the world at that time, so different even tho just 50 years ago.

I do think that going to the moon was worthwhile, even tho our (USA) motives were not completely pure. Thinking on this is only put in more relief by the current discussions concerning NASA and its mission and missions.

the Observer

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
Yes, peedee at Queen of the Dogs had a post on this 'ending' of the space program. Are we nuts??? That is a dumb idea.

Ann T.