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Zach Cooley is a keen and imaginative photographer. One of the things he likes is taking unusual and interesting shots of the Moon. His best was taken at Arches National Park in Utah, USA. He worked out when he would be able to capture a nearly full Moon centered in one of the arches. If he got the calculations right – and weather permitting – it would look like an eye.

The shot, shown below, was a single exposure. If you'd like to see more of Zach's Moon photos and landscapes – worth a look! - his Instagram account is zachcooley.smugmug.com

The Eye of the Moon


Mona Evans
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James Woodend took this dramatic aurora image on the Jökulsárlón Glacier lagoon in Iceland. It was the winner of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2014. "The water was very still – you can see the icebergs floating in the lagoon and their reflections. In the background is the Vatnajökull Glacier."

One of the judges said, “This beautiful image captures what it's really like to see a good aurora – the landscape, with the reflections which seem almost sharper than the shapes in the sky, is a terrific bonus, too!

Aurora over a Glacier Lagoon © James Woodend


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An astrophoto rarely tells the whole story. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech, Astronomy magazine provided four photos of the two merging galaxies of the Whirlpool galaxy. Pictures show different aspects of an object when taken in different wavelengths of light.

The Whirlpool in . . . (a) visible light through a powerful telescope; (b) visible light blue & green, plus infrared data in red (c) all of the colors represent infrared wavelengths - the blue haze shows the brightest spots (stars) & the red shows the carbon dust, lit by the stars in the galaxy; (d) one more infrared red wavelength is added and it shows where the dust is hot – and the reddish-white spots are where new stars are forming.

Whirlpool Galaxy in Changing Colors (Hailey Rose McLaughlin)


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Asteroids formed everywhere in the ancient Solar System, but some of them were captured billions of years ago by Jupiter's gravity. They're called trojans, and astronomers think they hold unique clues to the early Solar System. NASA's Lucy mission is headed for Jupiter with a plan to visit eight of the trojan asteroids between 2025 and 2033.

Lucy – the trojan mission – was named after Lucy the famous 3-million-year-old fossil skeleton. In turn, the ancient humanoid had inspired the name of the Beatles song. The Lucy trojan mission was launched on October 16, 2021 from Cape Canaveral on an Atlas V rocket, and John Kraus captured a beautiful image of the launch and its reflection.

Lucy in the Sky [APOD]

Last edited by Mona - Astronomy; 01/06/22 03:41 PM. Reason: syntax error

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Stonehenge is a great prehistoric stone circle built to align with the solstices. It's in the care of English Heritage. At the winter solstice, if you stand with your back to the entrance, with the Avenue dropping away behind you, the sunset is visible.

The summer solstice is the site of mid-summer celebrations and has probably been since ancient times. However, it's likely that the builders of Stonehenge regarded the winter sunset as more important. They would have known that this day marked the turning of the year, and that the weather would improve and spring would come round again. [Description from English Heritage curator Heather Sebire.]

Stonehenge mid-winter sunset with snow [© Historic England Archive]


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The Dolphin-head Nebula (SH2-308), in the constellation Canis Major, is around 5000 light years away. The bright Wolf-Rayet star seen just above the center of the bubble is over 20 times the mass of the Sun, and in a late phase of evolution. The aging star created the cosmic bubble, which is a whopping 60 light years across.

This amazing photo wasn't captured with a large observatory telescope. It's the work of superb British astrophotographer Nik Szymanek. We see the emission of ionized oxygen in blue because Nik chose to map his narrowband filters to that color.

Dolphin-head Nebula [APOD]


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It looks like there's a great orange ball ready to roll down a tree-lined hill. But that's not a ball, it's the Sun with several sunspots, photographed in Sierra del Cid in Perter, Spain. There are silhouetted pine trees, and if you look closely, some silhouetted people.

This remarkable image is not photoshopped. The photographer, Jordi Coy, took it from 3.5 kilometers away. He also used a dark filter to mute the Sun and enhance the detail of the sunspots.

Sunspot Hill [APOD]


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UGC 2885 is a giant spiral galaxy over 200 million light years away in the constellation Perseus. It's eight times the diameter of the Milky Way with ten times as many stars. The galaxy has the nickname Rubin's Galaxy because it was part of Vera Rubin's study of the rotation of galaxies which led to showing the dominating presence of dark matter in the Universe. [Image credit: NASA, ESA, B. Holwerda (University of Louisville)]

Vera Rubin died on Christmas Day 2016, aged 88. Rubin once said “My life has been an interesting voyage. I became an astronomer because I could not imagine living on Earth and not trying to understand how the Universe works.”

Rubin's Galaxy [APOD]


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Christmas Day

Here's a recent photo taken in the village of Kirazli, Turkey. Click on the image to enlarge. There's a diagonal line of three planets. On the right, near the horizon, is Venus, then Saturn, and near the top left is Jupiter. Comet Leonard is quite faint. Look to the left of Venus and lower on the horizon. The comet completes an equilateral triangle with Venus and Saturn.

Image credit & copyright: Tunc Tezel (TWAN)

Three Planets & a Comet [APOD]


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magnificent photo. Merry Christmas.

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