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High-resolution desktop wallpaper Out of this Whirl by NASA Images
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Out of this Whirl

March 14th, 2016

The graceful, winding arms of the majestic spiral galaxy M51 (NGC 5194) appear like a grand spiral staircase sweeping through space. They are actually long lanes of stars and gas laced with dust.

This sharpest-ever image of the Whirlpool Galaxy, taken in January 2005 with the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, illustrates a spiral galaxy's grand design, from its curving spiral arms, where young stars reside, to its yellowish central core, a home of older stars. The galaxy is nicknamed the Whirlpool because of its swirling structure.

The Whirlpool's most striking feature is its two curving arms, a hallmark of so-called grand-design spiral galaxies. Many spiral galaxies possess numerous, loosely shaped arms which make their spiral structure less pronounced. These arms serve an important purpose in spiral galaxies. They are star-formation factories, compressing hydrogen gas and creating clusters of new stars. In the Whirlpool, the assembly line begins with the dark clouds of gas on the inner edge, then moves to bright pink star-forming regions, and ends with the brilliant blue star clusters along the outer edge.

Some astronomers believe that the Whirlpool's arms are so prominent because of the effects of a close encounter with NGC 5195, the small, yellowish galaxy at the outermost tip of one of the Whirlpool's arms. At first glance, the compact galaxy appears to be tugging on the arm. Hubble's clear view, however, shows that NGC 5195 is passing behind the Whirlpool. The small galaxy has been gliding past the Whirlpool for hundreds of millions of years.

As NGC 5195 drifts by, its gravitational muscle pumps up waves within the Whirlpool's pancake-shaped disk. The waves are like ripples in a pond generated when a rock is thrown in the water. When the waves pass through orbiting gas clouds within the disk, they squeeze the gaseous material along each arm's inner edge. The dark dusty material looks like gathering storm clouds. These dense clouds collapse, creating a wake of star birth, as seen in the bright pink star-forming regions. The largest stars eventually sweep away the dusty cocoons with a torrent of radiation, hurricane-like stellar winds, and shock waves from supernova blasts. Bright blue star clusters emerge from the mayhem, illuminating the Whirlpool's arms like city streetlights.

The Whirlpool is one of astronomy's galactic darlings. Located 31 million light-years away in the constellation Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs), the Whirlpool's beautiful face-on view and closeness to Earth allow astronomers to study a classic spiral galaxy's structure and star-forming processes.

Object Names: Whirlpool Galaxy, M51, NGC 5194/5

Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI), and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

High-resolution desktop wallpaper Soldiers by jdphotopdx
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Soldiers

May 3rd, 2015

One of the coolest places I have ever been. A tree farm in eastern Oregon.

Adobe Lightroom 5, Adobe Photoshop CC.

Canon EOS 6D, Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L II USM.

High-resolution desktop wallpaper Beaming Through by jdphotopdx
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Beaming Through

January 13th, 2015

My first visit to Indian Beach, Oregon. Amazing place!

Adobe Lightroom 5.

Canon EOS 6D, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM.

High-resolution desktop wallpaper Natural Arch by hsrob
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Natural Arch

October 13th, 2015

Taken at the Natural Arch (Bridge) in Springbrook National Park, Queensland, Australia. A popular destination for many years it has changed since I've last been there (many years ago) with the addition of a tree that has fallen through the cave roof and, unfortunately, a viewing platform which restricts photo options. Nonetheless I'm pleased with how this came out but I feel it is most suited to a wider aspect crop.

Edited in Adobe Camera Raw.

Nikon D750, Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED.

Photo Settings: 15mm, f/11, 2 seconds, ISO 100.

High-resolution desktop wallpaper Red Demons by Carles Marsal
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Red Demons

February 26th, 2015

Copyright © 2015 Carles Marsal. All rights reserved.

Adobe Photoshop.

High-resolution desktop wallpaper Foggy Pier by Jeffery Hayes
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Foggy Pier

February 28th, 2015

I had intended to visit Jack Block Park to get a photo of the city peaking out of the fog in the distance. By the time I got there, the fog had consumed the whole area. I did fine with this beautiful, eerie pier, though.

Canon EOS 6D, Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM.

Photo Settings: 16mm, f/13, 2 seconds, ISO 100.

High-resolution desktop wallpaper The Helix Nebula's Iridescent Glory by NASA, NOAO, ESA, the Hubble Helix Nebula Team, M. Meixner (STScI), and T.A. Rector (NRAO)
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The Helix Nebula's Iridescent Glory

February 11th, 2016

Planetary nebulae like the Helix are sculpted late in a Sun-like star's life by a torrential gush of gases escaping from the dying star. They have nothing to do with planet formation, but got their name because they look like planetary disks when viewed through a small telescope. With higher magnification, the classic "donut-hole" in the middle of a planetary nebula can be resolved. Based on the nebula's distance of 650 light-years, its angular size corresponds to a huge ring with a diameter of nearly 3 light-years. That's approximately three-quarters of the distance between our Sun and the nearest star.

The Helix Nebula is a popular target of amateur astronomers and can be seen with binoculars as a ghostly, greenish cloud in the constellation Aquarius. Larger amateur telescopes can resolve the ring-shaped nebula, but only the largest ground-based telescopes can resolve the radial streaks. After careful analysis, astronomers concluded the nebula really isn't a bubble, but is a cylinder that happens to be pointed toward Earth.

Credit: NASA, NOAO, ESA, the Hubble Helix Nebula Team, M. Meixner (STScI), and T.A. Rector (NRAO).

High-resolution desktop wallpaper Hills of Vienna by Mohsen Kamalzadeh
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Hills of Vienna

April 5th, 2014

Kahlenberg hills, north-west of Vienna, Austria.

June 2013.

Samsung NX10.

Photo Settings: 18mm, f/5, 1/125 second, ISO 100.

High-resolution desktop wallpaper Höllental by Andi Kulse
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Höllental

April 26th, 2016

This was taken after a hiking tour through the Höllentalklamm.

"Valley of Hell", as it is known in English, leads up the Zugspitze on the German side of the German-Austrian border in the northern Alps.

Adobe Lightroom CC.

Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF).

Photo Settings: 17mm, f/9, 1/200 second, ISO 200.

High-resolution desktop wallpaper The Left Edge by jdphotopdx
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The Left Edge

February 10th, 2015

The Left Edge of the mainland. Cape Mears at Cape Lookout, Oregon.

Lightroom 5

Canon EOS 6D, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.