The term,”space” implies that… there is a lot of space. And that’s no joke. There is a LOT OF SPACE out there. But from a human perspective, there’s plenty in between that space. Our brains (at least mine) reach out for patterns in the seemingly empty star fields. And, more to the point, in our tiny field of vision, when we look at those stars, we can even anthropomorphize the star patterns we see (asterisms, constellations, night sky mythology).
- attribute human characteristics or behavior to (a god, animal, or object).”people’s tendency to anthropomorphize their dogs”
That’s generally why I spend my nights pointing my telescope into space.
But, occasionally I get lost in my own life. Lost in my schedule. Lost to my responsibilities. And when all of that happens, I get behind. Actually, to say I’m behind now on my data analyzation and calibration would be a massive understatement. I’m so behind, I’m still finishing last year’s work. As we were setting up this year’s mosaic tiles, I decided to point my scope at a few targets that I enjoy shooting before the rigid schedule started.
This area is in Orion (I know, it’s my favorite) and it’s just as beautiful as the other two prominent nebula there- IC433 (horsehead) and M42 (orion). This image is M78 (no fancy name, other than a “reflection nebula”) and LDN 1622 (the boogeyman nebula). See if you can guess which one is which below.
And if you are wondering where it is located in Orion- Hop over to my giant mosaic to see it presented in a wider field. Just for kicks, here’s a comparison image below of the area revealing the two prominent data sets. One hydrogen data set (the grey image) and the other, the HA-LRGB data set (the color image). For an even more interactive image, click on the BOLD text link at the bottom of the page to open the fully interactive image (zoomable, clickable, data set selectable) in a new window.
The prominent feature in my M78 image is the band of hydrogen proceeding through the center of the frame. That is the remnants of the shock wave from an ancient supernova. I feel like I say that a bunch. I’m subjected to so much beauty through my telescope that I have to resist the tendency of taking things for granted.
The scope and majesty of this area [well- the entire night sky in general] are just mind-blowing. To ponder on it for long leaves me devoid of rational thought. It’s like working on an advanced math problem that involves several orders of operations… just when you come to terms with one aspect of the problem, you discover your solution lies multiple steps away. Maybe chess would be a better example? Contemplating these areas is going to take time… to focus on the academics of it without appreciating the beauty would be tragic. Having said all of that, just know I’m gonna catch up at some point. I hope you are (get) caught up as well!
So pull up a chair- hop on over to my mosaic and get lost in space.