a wishing well that all men call the world: earth against the stars, photographed by soho and dscovr, 18th november 2015.

a composite of real imagery: earth is photographed by dscover’s epic instrument (11 times over 22 hours), but epic exposures are too short to pick up stars; instead, i have used a starfield synthesized from soho images earlier in the year when the sun was moving through taurus and auriga, where the earth is now. the framing of the images and the apparent motion of the stars are also based on soho images. 

the numerous inaccuracies and creative slights of hand are mine.

image credit: nasa/soho, nasa/noaa. animation&composite: ageofdestruction. title: leonard cohen.

( i balance on a wishing well
that all men call the world
we are so small between the stars
so large against the sky
and lost among the subway crowds
i try to catch your eye -


image noise, photographed / not photographed by soho, 14th june 2015.

35 frames, photographed over 7.5 hours, with the subject of the images removed as much as possible; some traces of the background stars remain, however. near centre, elnath (beta tauri) is somewhat visible as a crescent. most of the noise is from charged particles hitting the image detector.

image credit: nasa/soho. animation: ageofdestruction.


a textbook of magic: stars, over the sun, photographed by soho, 16th february 2016.

the plume in the first gif is an outburst from the solar corona. the 2nd gif shows image noise from the 1st gif; i’m under the impression that many of these flashes are protons emitted by the sun hitting the image detector.

image credit: nasa/soho. animation: ageofdestruction.


surface of the moon, photographed by ranger 8, 20th february 1965.

centred around 1°n 20°e, on the southwest shore of the mare tranquillitatis (sea of tranquility).

10 photographs taken with the a (top) and b (bottom) cameras, during ranger 8′s descent toward impact on the lunar surface.

image credit: nasa, c/o lpi. animation: ageofdestruction.

milky way, photographed by stereo b, 21st-22nd january 2007.

the plane of the galaxy around scorpius. the second brightest object in the image, above the galaxy, is antares. the very brightest, above and left, must be a planet - perhaps mars. the pair of bright stars that just sneak into frame at bottom right are alpha and beta centauri; one of the stars in the alpha centauri star system, proxima centauri, is the closest star to the sun.

18 frames over 22 hours. on january 21st, the spacecraft used a lunar gravity assist to escape the earth-moon system and enter a heliocentric orbit.

image credit: nasa/stereo. animation: ageofdestruction.

sun & moon, photographed by sdo, 30th january 2014.

an eclipse of the sun by the moon visible only from sdo, created by the alignment of their orbits. and, for good measure, a solar flare (left).

this sequence of 28 frames (photographed over 7 hours) combines images of two wavelengths, for reasons that i no longer clearly recall. this idiosyncratic postprocessing has, however, revealed some interesting textures of the image sensor.

image credit: nasa/sdo, aia/eve/hmi. animation: ageofdestruction.