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Physics Media

Great Astronomical Images


This educational production from The Citadel’s Physics Department and Information Technology Services is the successor to Dr. Adelman’s Great Astronomical Images which was distributed mainly on a CD starting in 2001. These productions are intended to help students make the transition between astronomy as a collection of nice pictures to astronomy as a science. Nevertheless, the first version proved to have an appeal for students of all ages. A prototype for the DVD version was completed by Prof. Adelman and Joshua Bergeron, USN, in August 2009. The final version has 402 images of astronomical objects which were chosen mainly based on their good aesthetics.

Since 2001, high definition monitors have become common both for computers and televisions. The DVD upgrades the previous CD release by including images at the appropriate resolution for the new monitors, making them more appealing. For some objects there are multiple images. Often the different images represent views taken with different filters and image scales. This series of images can be viewed just for personal enjoyment or for education purposes or for both. A series of PDF files based on web materials accompany these images. Additional information can often be found on-line from the sources. Most of the image titles on the DVD match those on their web sites.

The various sources for the images have different levels of copyright. Please visit their web sites sources for more details. All of the images are approved for inclusion in not-for-profit educational products such as this one, provided credits are specified for the image. The copyright retained by Saul J. Adelman is the concept of this DVD production and those parts which were uniquely created for the DVD.

Sources of Images

An excellent source of information on sources of astronomical images is Andrew Fraknoi, 2008, “Images on the Web for Astronomy Teaching: Images Repositories”, Astronomical Educational Review, issue 1, volume 7, pages 132-138. The Great Astronomical Images DVD does not contain images from certain of the sources listed in this article due to copyright issues. Most recent space missions have their own web sites.

The most important sources of images for Great Astronomical Images DVD are:

Other sources include:

Without the availability of the images from these sources, this production would not have been possible. We are very grateful to the producers and the suppliers of these images.


  • Concept and Image Selection: Saul J. Adelman, Ph.D., Department of Physics, The Citadel
  • Design: Lawrence W. Galasso, Information Technology Services, The Citadel
  • Additional graphics assistance: John Whitten, Information Technology Services, The Citadel
  • Support: An Educational Grant from the South Carolina Space Grant Consortium and The Citadel

We also thank Carol J. Adelman, David E. Adelman, K. Conyers Bull, Barbara Eager, and Richard Nelson for their assistance with this project.

The image at the top of the page is a supernova in the galaxy M82 from the Hubble Space Telescope. See

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