dsi imaging

3

Human Connectome Project white matter fibers, via diffusion spectral imaging.

we had a neurosurgeon come in to talk to us about the brain. my take on neurosurgeons as lecturers is that they either are absolutely, irrefutably, incontrovertibly AWESOME-I-think-I-just-fell-in-love-please-marry-me-also-I-have-crippling-debt, or they are as dry as the purported wit I am known to shit out on a daily basis. or is it just the shit? either way is not completely true, actually, because my wit is hiLARious. and these neurosurg lecturers are very not. 

they do afford me the great opportunity to craft this skill I’ve been working on, which is falling asleep with my eyes wide open. hasn’t been working so well. although I HAVE managed to smoothly execute a ‘nodding off and violently pitching forward to oh-HAY-I’m-just-checking-my-shoelace/scratching my foot/adjusting my flats' manoeuvre.

fucking beautiful. 

as are these brain images (see what I did there? brought the post back 'round full-circle. genius). my alpha-waves-eyes-wide-open state was briefly interrupted when these babies appeared on our ridiculously large lecture screen. granted, resolution is kind of iffy, and there are things that definitely don’t belong in places that may or may not exist, but sooo puuurteh. and so many colours!

SCIENCE. making the world a more beautiful place, one tenuous-fibre-tract-imaging-study at a time. 

SOFIA observatory peers into heart of Orion Nebula

A new image from NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) shows a complex distribution of interstellar dust and stars in the Orion nebula. Interstellar dust, composed mostly of silicon, carbon and other heavy elements that astronomers refer to generically as “metals,” plus some ice and organic molecules, is part of the raw material from which new stars and planets are forming.

The two insets display mid-infrared images showing portions of the Orion nebula star-forming region, also known as Messier 42 (M42). The SOFIA images were produced by SOFIA staff scientist James De Buizer and his collaborators from data obtained in May - June 2011 during the SOFIA’s Basic Science program. The observations were made using the Faint Object Infrared Camera for the SOFIA Telescope (FORCAST) instrument, led by principal investigator Terry Herter of Cornell University. Those observations are subjects of scientific papers to be submitted to The Astrophysical Journal.

The SOFIA’s large telescope is able to resolve many individual protostars and young stars as well as knots of dust and gas that could be starting the process of gravitational contraction to become stars. The massive protostar known famously as the BN (Becklin-Neugebauer) Object stands out as the individual blue source in the red inset box. The BN/KL region of Orion gets its name from the initials of pioneering infrared astronomers Eric Becklin, Gerry Neugebauer, Doug Kleinmann and Frank Low who mapped it in the late 1960s and early 1970s, using some of the first astronomical infrared detectors. In this image, infrared light with wavelengths of 20, 31, and 37 microns, symbolized respectively by blue, green and red, is seen coming from relatively cool interstellar dust with temperatures of approximately 100 - 200 kelvins.

Image credit: SOFIA image - James De Buizer / NASA / DLR / USRA / DSI / FORCAST; Spitzer image - NASA/JPL