Flaming Star wins 2011 Combustion Art Awards

Didn’t have time to post this last week so Happy Sunday!

Flaming Star - NASA

Flaming Star - NASA

But what is it?

Flaming Star is an artwork which won first prize in the 2011 Combustion Art Competition.

According to NASA’s Glenn Research Center website (where the images and research originated) flames of fire act differently in space than on Earth so researchers study all aspects of combustion in a microgravity environment as part of spaceflight fire safety. One byproduct of the research is some stunning imagery.

The work consists of multiple overlays of three separate micrograviy flame images. Each image is spread over cellulose paper in a spacecraft ventilation flow in microgravity. Different colours correspond with different chemical reactions within the flame.

The blue areas are caused by chemiluminescence (light produced by a chemical reaction.) The white, yellow and orange regions are due to glowing soot at the different black body temperatures within the flame zone.

The artist (aerospace engineer Sandra Olson) used the images to hint at exploding stars, flame exhausts and science-fiction warp technology – the research neatly mirroring aspects of the thing it aims to explore.