Titirangi man Rolf Olsen's picture of the star Beta Pictoris, believed to be the first image by an amateur photographer.
A New Zealand man was Monday being hailed as the first amateur photographer to capture an image of another solar system, after he photographed the star Beta Pictoris using a 10-inch (25cm) telescope at his home in Auckland.
Rolf Olsen, who moved to New Zealand in 2003 from Denmark, put the photograph on his website, sparking congratulations and amazement from members of the scientific community around the world.
“I realized it was a special thing but I didn’t realize it would generate such a stir,” Olsen, who lives in Titirangi west of central Auckland, told news website stuff.co.nz.
Astronomer and astro-photographer John Field, from Wellington’s Carter Observatory, said Olsen’s picture was “absolutely amazing” and that improved technology now allowed amateur photographers to capture images that previously would not have been possible.
On Discovery Magazine’s astronomy blog, Phil Plait — who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope for a decade — described the photograph as “astonishing.”
“I think it’s a milestone in ‘amateur’ astronomy, and it goes to show you that sometimes, the sky is not the limit,” he wrote.
The photo shows the protoplanetary disk surrounding the star. The disk represents a developing solar system, and the material inside the disk could develop into planets and asteroids.
Talk about your morning weird. Some people studying Google Earth for some reason managed to run across some very weird patterns in the Chinese desert that have a bunch of folks stumped. The patterns look like stripes that were etched or dug over the top of the landscape in the area. Some of the lines appear to be made from a silver/white material.
Considering these can clearly be seen from orbit the formations are raising some eyebrows with geeks trying to figure out what exactly they are for. Are these some sort of alignment or targeting grids for space weapons or what? In one of the photos, you can clearly see a grid of structures with three of them either destroyed or partially standing as if they were for target practice.
The strangest one is the intersecting grids lines; the structure covers 18 miles of space. The other pattern that looks like some sort of targeting grid is set up with concentric rings of what appear to be structures with straight spokes radiating out from the center. There are aircraft placed in the center of this circle. I have no idea what it is, but it reminds me of how the military would test the blast radius of some sort of bomb to see what the damage is like further out from the point of impact. What do you think? Is this a military testing ground or the Chinese equivalent of crop circles?
Organised into a highly efficient and rational plan, Spaceport has been designed to relate to the dimensions of the spacecraft. There is also a careful balance between accessibility and privacy. The astronauts’ areas and visitor spaces are fully integrated with the rest of the building, while the more sensitive zones – such as the control room – are visible, but have limited access.