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These Awesome Area Rugs Bring Stargazing to Your Living Room

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Weekends are for dreaming of interior design. This weekend, I'm gazing with covetous awe at Schönstaub's nebula area rugs. The three rug designs are photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of nebulas in the small and large Magellanic Clouds.

NGC 346 is in the Small Magellanic Cloud. Hubble's press officer was clearly having fun on the day they wrote up the description for this nebula:

At the centre of the region is a brilliant star cluster called NGC 346. A dramatic structure of arched, ragged filaments with a distinct ridge surrounds the cluster.

A torrent of radiation from the hot stars in the cluster NGC 346, at the centre of this Hubble image, eats into denser areas around it, creating a fantasy sculpture of dust and gas. The dark, intricately beaded edge of the ridge, seen in silhouette, is particularly dramatic. It contains several small dust globules that point back towards the central cluster, like windsocks caught in a gale.


LH 95 (photo identification HEIC0607) is a snippet of the star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Bright, massive stars generate stellar winds that erode and ionize the interstellar gas, creating the iconic glowing hydrogen nebula. Dark filaments of dense dust lanes thread throughout the nebula, absorbing blue light from farther stars to appear redder. Dense clusters of contracting gas form even younger, infant stars in stellar nurseries.


Alas, the final rug design, MOB 391, isn't named directly for a specific nebula or Hubble Space Telescope photograph identifier. If your skills at nebula-recognition trump mine, please identify it in the comments! Even without knowing much about it, it's still pretty.

The designs are created at 1,620,000 dots per square meter, which converts to just over a thousand dots per square inch. For the 2.2 m x 1.5 m rugs, that works out to slightly better than 2798 x 1908 dots. The resolution is actually pushing pretty close to the maximum resolution of the original Hubble can capture. Photograph HEIC0607 at its highest resolution is only 3877 x 2482 pixels, or 1.3 times clearer than the corresponding rug. That's pretty fantastic astronomical detail for interior design!


Photography credit Schönstaub. For more science-inspired design, check out this maritime-carpet, and this space-time warp patio.