Readers’ wildlife photos (and video)

Reader Tim Anderson has some astronomy photos for us:

Here are three astrophotographs assembled using my 10″ Newtonian telescope and a monochrome camera using narrowband filters to pick out wavelengths emitted by specific kinds of material.
The first is the Horsehead Nebula (officially known as Barnard 33 – Barnard was a fascinating personality, well worth a Google search). This image is made using only emissions from Hydrogen atoms.
The second is the Keyhole Nebula, which lies at the heart of the Carina complex. It is so far south that it is rarely visible to you northern types, and should provide a good reason to visit the infernal regions. This image is comprised of exposures filtered to receive Hydrogen, Oxygen and Sulphur emission.
The third is a galaxy field – one big one and five small ones. Perhaps your readers may care to spot them.

Wintery closeups by reader Ken Phelps:

Some frost on a twig bent by the snow.

And a crop:

Flakes of frost fallen off the twig.


Ran across something I’d never noticed before this morning – icicles interfacing with a spider’s web. The depth of field isn’t exactly as deep as I’d like, but I was hand-holding the camera so had to keep the aperture a bit wide. There are larger slightly more detailed versions of some of the images on Flickr.

Tara Tanaka’s been busy, but has provided us with a new video called “The price of protection”. Be sure to watch it on full screen.  Here are her notes (warning: shows nature red in tooth):

I was eating breakfast last July overlooking our backyard swamp, and saw an enormous spray of water out in the cypress trees. I grabbed my binoculars and saw that it was one of our alligators with one of our recently fledged, still naive Wood Storks that had been hunting for food in the shallow water. I grabbed my digiscoping gear and ran out in the yard to video the behavior. The bird was already dead, but it was still hard to watch. I hoped that the parents weren’t watching.

The rookery couldn’t survive without the alligators that patrol the swamp, keeping raccoons from raiding the nests. If you’ve ever been to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm or Gatorland near Orlando, you know that birds understand that nesting over alligators keeps them safe from most predators. Unfortunately the draw for the alligators is that some birds fall – or are pushed by their siblings from their nests when they’re young, and then there are some like this unfortunate stork that fledge, but are not yet savvy enough to keep an eye out for alligators.



  1. Posted February 23, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Just to note that the 2nd and 3rd photos are the wrong way round.

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 23, 2018 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Love these

  3. Liz
    Posted February 23, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink


  4. rickflick
    Posted February 23, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Those still live images are just beautiful. Thanks.

    The ‘gator is amazing. I didn’t realize how they rise up and thrash about like that. Somewhat like a heron dealing with a frog. A lot of banging about before the big gulp.

    • Posted February 23, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      I think its to maybe shred the prey to smaller chunks. Or at least to soften them up to swallow them whole.

  5. GBJames
    Posted February 23, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    That gator sure has an attitude!

  6. darrelle
    Posted February 23, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Wow. A great set of pictures today!

  7. P. Taylor
    Posted February 23, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I vaguely recall Asimov (possibly in Asimov on Astronomy or something) saying that the Horsehead Nebula looked to him more like the Big Bad Wolf.

    I see the resemblance, if you see it as in profile, but if you view it as “head on” then it does look a bit like a horse’s head, possibly wearing one of those ceremonial tassels.

    Here’s a colourful expanded view:

    • Posted February 23, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      It looks like a chess knight to me (or part of one), which is sort of horsy.

  8. Posted February 23, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Frost on a twig. Outstanding. Emergent, self-similar all from one molecule.

  9. Posted February 23, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Very nice!

  10. Posted February 23, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Such beautiful dihydrogen monoxide crystals!

  11. Robert Bray
    Posted February 23, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Anderson, thanks! Let me praise your astrophotography with an adjective in its 18th century meaning: awful.

  12. Mark R.
    Posted February 23, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Wow, this was an extra special RWP today. Thanks!

  13. Posted February 24, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I’m assuming the wildlife are in the nebulae?

  14. Posted February 25, 2018 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Amazing and beautiful photos — and on vastly different scales. Thanks.

  15. Posted March 4, 2018 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    Excellent ice!

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