Astronomy Picture of the Day Features Subaru Image

August 23, 2011

Subaru's 2005 image of NGC 2403, a spiral galaxy that is in the constellation Camelopardalis and ten million light-years away, traveled from its home site in the Subaru Gallery to occupy a position as the Astronomy Picture of the Day on July 23, 2011. The Astronomy Picture of the Day is a website provided by NASA and Michigan Technological University; each day it features a different image or photograph of our universe with a brief narrative about the image. The daily images give astronomers and the public alike the opportunity to share the beauty of celestial images and inspire them to learn more about the objects in the universe.

Well-known astrophotographer Robert Gendler combined the image of NGC 2403 captured by the ground-based Subaru Telescope with data from the Hubble Space Telescope to create this magnificent composite. What began as part of Subaru's ordinary image permission process became a later request for submission of the processed image to APOD, where it can be viewed by sky-watchers around the world. Over 70 of Gendler's images have been featured on the APOD website.

On his astrophotography website, Gendler describes the range of values that astronomical imaging has: "Although well-known for its scientific value, astronomical imaging also has great educational and artistic value. The fascinating natural forms and colors of galaxies, nebulas, and other deep-sky objects are deeply aesthetic ... Astrophotography has evolved to become a valid and significant art form in its own right."

Many more beautiful images from the Subaru Telescope and NAOJ are displayed in the Subaru Gallery on the Subaru website. And, Gendler's image of the Pleiades, Subaru's namesake, will appear on the 2011 German "Astronomy" postal stamp issue. A picture is often worth more than a thousand words—for scientists, artists, educators, and the general public.

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