The Watcher is the winner of the Aurorae category of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2019. The competition runs annually at the Royal Observatory Greenwich in England, sponsored by Insight Investment. Over 4600 entries were submitted this year.
German photographer Nicolai Brügger hiked in the snow to the top of the mountain Offersøykammen in Norway's Lofoten Islands. At last, sometime after midnight, the Northern Lights appeared, and what his photograph takes my breath away.
The Moon and Jupiter above the Winter Triangle, photographed by astrophotographer John Chumack on a clear Iowa night.
Astronomical winter doesn't begin until the solstice, but in the northern hemisphere, meteorological winter is definitely here in December. Jupiter is the bright object just above and to the left of the Moon. The Triangle is below it. There's Betelgeuse in Orion, with Procyon slightly above and to its left. Sirius, closest to the horizon, completes the triangle.
Sunrise over Gale Crater, photographed by the Curiosity rover on November 30, 2019.
The image was tweeted by NASA's Doug Ellison, official Engineering Camera Payload Uplink Lead. He explained that the photo is in black and white because color takes more data volume, and isn't needed for an engineering camera. Although this was a money saver back in 2003, the 2020 rover’s Engineering Cameras will be the first to be in color.
The telescope known as the Leviathan of Parsonstown was built in the early 1840s. It was the biggest telescope in the world for seven decades.
The Leviathan was designed and built by the Third Earl of Rosse at Birr Castle in Ireland. It was powerful enough for Lord Rosse to be the first to discern the spiral nature of some nebulae, which we now know as spiral galaxies. The photograph [credit: Birr Castle] is of the reconstructed telescope which is open to visitors.
Sadly, former cosmonaut Alexi Leonov died in October. He was the first person to make a spacewalk, and had the Soviet manned-Moon program been successful, might have pipped Neil Armstrong to the Moon.
Leonov was more than a retired spacefarer. He and Apollo astronaut David Scott wrote a dual memoir on the space race in Two Sides of the Moon. And as an artist since his youth, Leonov had taken paper and colored pencils into space in order to sketch. On Earth, he painted numerous scenes of space.
The amazing French photographer Thierry Legault not only captured the July 2019 total solar eclipse, but he doubled the effect by getting its reflection in a lake.
The eclipse was to be low on the horizon, and Legault looked for a still lake to get the reflection. He could have been unlucky with the wind, but the water was unruffled, and the outcome was perfect. The photo was taken with a single exposure of 1/15 of a second.
In 2019, for the first time ever, a black hole was imaged. The object itself is completely dark since even light can't escape from it. However, the black hole's boundary – the event horizon – casts a shadow, and that's what we see in the photograph.
The image was achieved with data from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a global network of eight radio telescopes synchronized by atomic clocks. A supercomputer turned their data into an image. [Photo: EHT.]
There are millions of stars in Omega Centauri, a stunning globular cluster photographed by the European Southern Observatory (ESO).
The star cluster is so densely packed with stars – about 10 million in a volume of 150 light years – that their mutual gravity pulls them into a spherical shape. Star clusters usually contain stars that formed at the same time, but there is such a wide spread of ages and composition, Omega Centauri may be the remnant of a dwarf galaxy merging with the Milky Way.
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