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The Central West Astronomical Society of Australia holds an annual AstroFest in a celebration of astronomy. Its astrophotography competition is named for David Malin. British-Australian David Malin is a noted astronomer and astrophotographer.

Austin Turpin was the winner in the Junior category for his photo How small it makes me feel. The citation for this winning image read: “This striking image is a selfie, created at the end of a cloudy night, by a young man with some imagination. His lightbeam makes for a simple but excellent V-shaped composition that catches the eye.”

How small it makes me feel
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Mona Evans
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When atomic particles from the Sun cascade onto the Earth's upper atmosphere, it glows like a fluorescent lamp. This is an aurora. But since our planet's magnetic field funnels the solar particles down a ring around the poles, the place to see aurorae is in the far north or far south. [Image credit & copyright: Kwon, O Chul (TWAN)][APOD]

Kwon, O Chul photographed the aurora near Yellowknife in northern Canada in a time of notable solar activity.

Auroras over Northern Canada
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Mona Evans
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What are these strange rings that look rather like part of an enormous spider web? Astronomers are not sure what they are. But they know where they are – in a binary star system 6000 light years away in the constellation Cygnus. A number of telescopes have contributed to the imaging of this distant system. [Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, JWST, MIRI, ERS Program 1349][Processing: Judy Schmidt][APOD]

“The two great stars joust in an oblong orbit as they approach each other about every eight years. When at closest approach, the X-ray emission from the system increases, as, apparently, does the dust expelled into space – creating another shell.”

The Rings of WR 140
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Mona Evans
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Pictures of Jupiter's moon Io tends to remind me of a giant pizza. However the “true color” image derived from photos taken by the Galileo spacecraft show the moon as predominantly yellow. [Image Credit: NASA, JPL, Galileo Project][APOD]

Io is the most volcanic body in the Solar System. “Io's volcanoes are so active that they are effectively turning the whole moon inside out. Some of Io's volcanic lava is so hot it glows in the dark.”

Io in True Color
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Mona Evans
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The Geminids are a beautiful mid-December meteor shower. This composite was created from images taken in Heilongjiang province in northeastern China in an area of dark skies. Fantastic, but a piercing -28 Celsius! (That's -18 F.) [Composite image Credit & copyright: Jeff Dai (TWAN)][APOD]

The radiant of a meteor shower is where the paths of the meteors seem to originate. The radiant in this shower is close to two bright stars – Castor and Pollux, the Gemini.

Gemini's Meteors
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Mona Evans
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“Concordia research station in Antarctica is located on a plateau 3200 m above sea level. A place of extremes, temperatures can drop to –80°C in the winter, with a yearly average temperature of –50°C.” [European Space Agency (ESA)]

“At Concordia the Sun does not rise above the horizon in the winter and does not set in the summer. During the harsh winter no outside help can be flown in or reach the base over land. The nearest human beings are stationed some 600 km away at the Russian Vostok base, making Concordia more remote than the International Space Station.The base is so unlike anything found elsewhere in the world that ESA participates in the Italian-French base to research future missions to other planets, using the base as a model for extraterrestrial planets.”

Aurora Australis over Concordia base
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Mona Evans
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I'm cruising to Antarctica later this month.

1 member likes this: Mona - Astronomy
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Vivien Mousdell created this sculpture of William and Caroline Herschel. The Herschel Museum in Bath commissioned it for the 250th anniversary of William's birth. The museum was established in the house where the Herschels had lived for a time. In fact, the garden was where William was observing when he discovered the planet Uranus. [Photograph: Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)]

“William is behind his sister dressed in eighteenth-century style. His head is titled back as he looks at the sky with a gentle and benevolent smile. Caroline Herschel is in front of him and wears a cap. She holds a quill pen in her right hand and is looking down at a piece of paper on which is drawn the solar system with the planet Uranus at the centre. The piece evokes the siblings' close relationship and shared passion for astronomy.”

Star Gazers
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Mona Evans
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The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park in Western Australia are unusual limestone formations. They're made of ancient sea shells. in the sky above them, the photogrpaher captured a superb panorama. [Image & copyright: Jingyi Zhang][APOD]

“Prominent in the dramatic sky is the arch of the central band of the Milky Way. Rising from the horizon near the image center, there is is a ray of zodiacal light, which is sunlight reflected by dust grains orbiting between the planets of the Solar System.” Jupiter and Saturn are there as well as some well known stars. Click to see an annotated image.

Zodiacal Pinnacles
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Mona Evans
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That is quite a skyscape.

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