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Imaging the Cosmos: Universal Appeal

Located in the constellation Orion is one of the most spectacular collections of nebulacity visable from Earth. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Belt of Orion, the three brightest stars in this image, can be seen in the southern skies during the winter months. Photo Credit: Chris Hetlage / Imaging the Cosmos

Chris Hetlage’s astrophotography is nothing short of stunning. His deep sky images of distant nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies will have you believing the he has a direct downlink from the Hubble Space Telescope. The truth is, he uses his own equipment out of a private observatory located in Georgia.

For this first set of images, we highlight the imagery that Hetlage’s Imaging the Cosmos website has produced of objects far out in the universe. Some of the subject matter in these images might be familiar to browsers of astronomy books worldwide, others might be totally new. In either case, the pictures produced by Imaging the Cosmos highlight the capabilities that even NASA has noticed.

On June 12 of this year, NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day selected one of Hetlage’s images for their featured photo. That picture will be part of tomorrow’s lineup of solar imagery.

The Rosette Nebula, also known as NGC 2233, is a very large region of hydrogen gases surrounding a cluster of stars, located in the constellation Monoceros. The Rosette Nebula is located some 5,000 light years from Earth and is nearly 100 light years wide. Photo Credit: Chris Hetlage / Imaging the Cosmos

IC 443 is also known as the Jellyfish Nebula. IC443 is located some 5,000 light years from Earth. IC443 is actually a Supernova Remnant, the remains of an exploding star. It’s difficult to say how long ago this event occurred but it would most certainly been very bright, possibly bright enough to be seen during the daytime hours here on Earth. Photo Credit: Chris Hetlage / Imaging the Cosmos


The Cocoon Nebula, also known as IC 5146, is located in the constellation Cygnus. The Cocoon Nebula is located nearly 4,000 light years from Earth. Photo Credit: Chris Hetlage / Imaging the Cosmos


The Horsehead Nebula is a collection of nebulae located in the constellation Orion. There is a lot to see in this image with emission nebula, dark nebula, and some reflection nebula. The Horsehead Nebula is located some 1,500 light years from Earth. Photo Credit: Chris Hetlage / Imaging the Cosmos

The California Nebula, also known as NGC1499, is an emission nebula located in the constellation Perseus. Photo Credit: Chris Hetlage / Imaging the Cosmos


2 comments to Imaging the Cosmos: Universal Appeal

  • Leonidas

    Jason, such wonderful photos!! Trying to put the majesric majesty and awesome awesomeness into words will only do them injustice!!

    I’m gonna go now and pick my jaw from the floor…

  • Viewing these and other images of the universe puts a profound perspective on humanity’s place in the cosmos. How fortunate we are indeed to be able to experience and understand these wonders. How many other intelligent beings might be out there who can also appreciate what we do? Fascinating!