Don Dixon's Astronomical Art Portfolio

Earth Origin and Destiny
September 07 2013

  • 060-Meteoric-Rain
    Meteoric Rain - during the formation of the earth, millions of tons of dust and rock rained down every day ; gouache on illustration board, 1976
  • 066-Moon-Capture-Theory
    An explanation for the moon's origin is that a ring of dust around earth slowed the passing moon, allowing it to be captured by earth's gravity. The modern…
  • 126-Planetesimals
    Planetesimals - the seeds of planets crash together in the solar nebula, gradually growing larger ; acrylic and gouache 1985
  • 127-Moonrise-4BY-BC
    Moonrise 4 Billion B.C.E. - a young, close moon rises above the ancient sea, invoking huge tides that scour the continents ; acrylic and gouache on board, 1979
  • 172-Red-Giant-Sun
    Red Giant Sun - In about 5 billion years our sun will warm and swell to consume the earth; the distant moon transits the swollen solar disk
  • 188-Moon-Forming-Impact
    Moon Forming Impact - a small planet smashes into the young earth, splashing out debris that forms the moon
  • 273-First-Rain
    for Newsweek Japan, rains begin to fill craters on the young earth
  • 274-First-Seas
    the first seabeds were probably shallow impact basins
  • Early Earth
    volcanos and mists shroud the primitive earth, as its oceans are stirred by a much closer moon. Acrylic and gouache on illustration board, 1994. copyright 2013…
  • 338-Proto-Planets
    planetesimals collide near the forming earth, 4.5 billion years ago - painting by Don Dixon
  • Comets Bring Water
    Impacting comets may have brought water to the early earth - acrylic and digital hybrid painting by Don Dixon, 2000
  • Protoplanetary Disk
    The Solar Nebula rotates about the newborn sun - digital, 1995, a remarkably prescient depiction of a forming planetary system similar to the protoplanetary…
  • 380-Life-Cloud-Meteors
    Meteors bring organic chemicals to primitive Earth - painting by Don Dixon for Geo Magazine
  • 399-White-Dwarf-Collision
    A scene far more common within a globular cluster, where stars swarm like bees and collisions between them are more likely, this digital painting shows the…
  • 400-Yucatan-Impact
    An asteroid 5-10 miles across impacts in the Yucatan to end the age of dinosaurs 65 million years ago. A fine layer of clay, rich in the element iridium -- more…
  • 420-First-Rains-02
    The first rains may have fallen for a thousand years, filling craters on the young earth to form shallow seas. Digital painting, 2004, for Scientific American.…
  • 421-First-Seas-02
    The first seas of the young earth, 4 billion years ago, may have served as wombs for the development of microscopic life forms. Digital painting, 2004, for…
  • 422-Methane-Earth-01
    Earth's original atmosphere may have been rich in methane gas, which formed an orange, smoglike haze. Digital painting for Scientific American, 2004. © 2005 by…
  • 442-Cool-Early-Earth
    A shield volcano adds to the atmosphere of the young earth, as a much-closer moon rises over an ocean in which life does not yet stir ; digital, 2006
  • 457-moon-capture-theory-diagram
    Infographic shows processes for planet to aquire a satellite. A developing planet's halo of gas expands to capture a passing body (top). Its gravitational…
  • 474-winter-solstice-diagram
    The beginning of winter marks the time when earth, in its orbit, is oriented so that the northern hemisphere is maximally tilted away from the sun. This results…
  • 475-end-of-cosmology
    Diagram created for Scientific American depicting the view from earth in the far distant future, as the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy merge to create a giant…
  • 478-Hadean-Earth
    An asteroid shatters the thin crust of the forming earth 4.5 billion years ago. © 2010 Don Dixon/
  • 483-Planet-formation
    The early solar system was a maelstrom of violence as planetesimals collided with one another and with the forming planets. Digital painting, cover comp for…
  • 488-dead-earth-far-future
    Bilions of years hence, the sun will swell, warm, and boil away earth's oceans, transforming our once-verdant world into a desiccated wastleand. Whatever…
  • Fire Fountains
    099 Fire Fountains; lava fountains erupt on the molten surface of the young earth; acrylic and gouache on illustration board, approximately 10x7 inches, 1975; ©…
  • 356-Primitive-Earth
    356_Primitive_Earth - Comets batter the newborn earth during the Late Heavy Bombardment about 4 billion years ago, bringing water to fill the first seas.…
  • 067-First-Lunar-Tides
    The newborn moon looms close and large in the earth's sky, stirring huge tides; cover of The Deep Range by Arthur C. Clarke ; acrylic on canvas, 1975
  • 061-Primordial-Clouds
    Primordial Clouds - local condensations within clouds of interstellar gas coalesce to form the nuclei of new solar systems ; acrylic and gouache on illustration…
  • 062-Birth-Of-The-Sun
    5 billion years ago the solar nebula flattens into a disk, pressure within the central mass triggers nuclear fusion ; gouache on illustration board, 1976
  • 063-Accretion-Of-Earth
    planetesimals, chunks of rock and ice, coalesce to form the nuclei of planets such as the earth ; gouache on illustration board, 1976. © Don Dixon
  • Formation of the Solar System
    Forming Solar System; comets swarm the newborn sun as planetesimals collide over the young earth, which glows red hot amidst the ring of debris splashed out by…