The Sun, seen in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths
Taylor joined The Atlantic to edit ‘In Focus’, a photography blog featuring photo essays about, in his words, “ . . . a range of subjects, from breaking news and historical topics to culture high and low”.
With a burning passion for telling visual stories on the web, Taylor had previously worked at The Boston Globe where he created and presided over Boston.com’s acclaimed photo-essay feature ‘The Big Picture’ for nearly three years, garnering eight million page views per month in the process.
When Taylor embarked on his ‘In Focus’ journey in February last year, he said: “I have a lot of plans, some small, some big, not necessarily many more pictures or pictures that are much more gigantic, but just going to the next level with it.”
Partial solar eclipse
And the talented photo curator hasn’t disappointed, especially with his cosmic offering earlier last month (March 7th) entitled ‘A Trip Across the Solar System’.
Taylor reflected that NASA’s robotic probes, the European Space Agency and others are all amassing data across the solar system and that there are currently spacecraft in orbit around several planets with some even leaving our solar system altogether.
And even though the Space Shuttle has been decommissioned, Taylor noted that astronauts are carrying out experiments aboard and sending back “amazing photos” from the International Space Station.
“With all these eyes in the sky, I [wanted] to put together a recent photo album of our solar system,” says Taylor. “[It’s] a set of family portraits, of sorts, as seen by our astronauts and mechanical emissaries.”
Featured in Taylor’s fantastic compilation is an excellent view of the Sun (top image), seen in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly aboard NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. Looping lines reveal solar plasma rising and falling along magnetic field lines in the solar atmosphere.
Taylor has selected another view of the sun (second image from top), a partial solar eclipse when the Moon moved in between it and NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite near the end of February.
Saturn's fourth-largest moon Dione
The sixth planet from the Sun, Saturn, has 62 known moons orbiting it and the fourth largest, Dione, can be seen here through the haze of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, in this colour photo chosen by Taylor and snapped from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.
A “Blue Marble” image of the earth
Closer to home now and this NASA photo shows a “Blue Marble” image of the Earth taken from the The Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite instrument aboard NASA’s Earth-observing satellite, Suomi NPP. It is a composite image that uses a number of swaths of the Earth’s surface.
Swirling cloud formation capped by the green aura borealis
A swirling cloud formation and the lights of the Aurora Borealis are seen here from the International Space Station above the Gulf of Alaska.
Night-time view from the International Space Station
The International Space Station also captured this superb night-time shot of the USA’s east coast. In the foreground, a pair of Russian vehicles parked at the orbital outpost can be seen.
Unpiloted ISS Progress
An unpiloted ISS Progress resupply vehicle approaches the International Space Station, carrying nearly three tons of food, fuel and equipment for the residents of the space station.
Russian support personnel
Above, Russian support personnel work to help get Expedition 29 crew members out of the Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft shortly after the capsule landed outside of the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan in November.
Meanwhile, Expedition 30’s flight engineer Russian cosmonaut, Anton Shkaplerov, here participates in a six-hour, 15-minute session of extravehicular activity to continue outfitting the International Space Station.
To see all these cosmic photos (and more) in a larger format and to find out more about Alan Taylor’s ‘In Focus’ photography blog, please visit www.theatlantic.com/infocus/