The Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2022 WinnersAn amazing photograph of comet Leonard on its unique passage near the earth has won the Photographer of the Year Award for astrophotographer Gerald Rhemann. The image was taken on Christmas Day 2021 in Khomas, Namibia, showing a dramatic disconnection event as solar winds tore away a piece of the comet's tail. The earth will never see this comet again. There are also winners in different categories in the competition, such as Stars and Nebulae, People and Space, Our Moon, Skyscapes, Galaxies, Aurorae, and more. Younger winners were named in age categories, and there are also the special awards for the best digital innovation and best newcomer. The winning images are on display in a special exhibition at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. See the top winners of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest at the competition gallery, plus some of the runners-up at BBC Science Focus.-via Damn Interesting​#astronomy #astronomyphotographeroftheyear #APOTY
This Isn't a Photo of JupiterIt sure looks like an astronomical photo of the planet Jupiter, but it’s not. Let’s take a step back.
NASA Wants Its "Moon Cockroaches" BackWho would have thought that some cockroaches and specks of dust could be worth around $400,000? These, however, are not the usual cockroaches that we consider pests or the specks of dust that we wipe up as dirt. We are talking about lunar dust that was actually fed to cockroaches in an experiment to determine whether it contained any diseases that pose a threat to terrestrial life. The moon dust and roaches were auctioned, but now NASA wants them back.  NASA, has requested the Boston-based auction company, RR auction, to return the moon dust. According to NASA anything that was acquired during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission is not for sale. No person or entity is allowed to preserve, display, or sell Apollo samples, emphasizing the urgent need for the RR auction to stop. Image credit: RR Auction​#NASA #RRAuction #Apollo11 #Astronomy
First Image From NASA's Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE)NASA's Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) finally delivered its first image on Valentine's Day 2022. In the image was Cassiopeia A, a supernova remnant about 11,000 light years away from Earth. While other telescopes have already studied Cassiopeia A before, like the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, scientists believe that the IXPE will bring something new to the table, comparing its first image to Chandra's (which also has Cassiopeia A as its first image). The IXPE will allow scientists to identify where the light originates via polarization. With the polarization data, scientists will be able to create the very first X-ray polarization map of the supernova remnant. From this map, they might be able to identify how X-rays are produced from the object. (Image Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/IXPE) #Astronomy #Supernova #SupernovaRemnant #NASA #ImagingXrayPolarimetryExplorer
Winners of the Astro2021 Astronomy Photo Contest"Deep in the Heart of Mordor" by Andy Campbell, Australia.Winners' gallery of ASTRO2021: The Competition is a sight to behold. The gallery showcases a collection of magnificent astronomy-related images taken by photographers from all over the world.Last year, ASTRO2021: The Competition announced two Grand Prize Winners, one for each of two divisions. Andy Campbell of Australia won the Austronomy Division with "Lambda Centauri Vortex (IC 2944)" and Larryn Rae of New Zealand won the Nightscape Division with "Mountain Basecamp." Campbell also secured 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th positions in the Astronomy Division, and Rae secured 2nd, 5th and 6th in the Nightscape Division.Both Grand Prize Winner images are shown below.
Astronomers Found a Wandering Black Hole in Interstellar Space for the First TimeWith the abundance of discussions around black holes in the media, one would think that there are scientific proofs of multiple black holes across the universe. Which was untrue because the discovery of one actually takes so long due to the difficulty of spotting them against the vast blackness of space. Until today.After a long time, researchers finally announced that they have spotted an isolated stellar-mass black hole wandering around in space for the first time.This discovery is a continuation of a finding in 2011 when two project teams from Warsaw as well as the combined researchers in New Zealand and Japan spotted an extremely bright star light years away from Earth.They found out that the star changed its location, discovered that no light is emanating from the lensing, and ensured that the magnification lasted for a long time. These are necessary to make sure of the existence of a black hole. Additionally, they also identified it to be 20,000 light years from Earth, and is seven times bigger than our sun.Image: Sahu KC, et al/Arxiv#blackhole #astronomy #space
How Do We Know the Sun's Life Span?Our sun has been around about five billion years, and scientists believe it has another five billion years left before it burns out. They can even tell us what will happen when it does. How did they figure that out? The sun has been notoriously difficult to study up until modern telescopes and space probes- after all, you can't even look at it. The state of the sun can be estimated by comparing it to other stars in our galaxy, but those aren't any easier to study, really. Only a couple hundred years ago, we didn't know how far away the sun is. We didn't know how big it is. And until 1925, we didn't know what kind of fuel it burns. The story of how we learned all those things is as fascinating as the sun itself. Read the steps scientists had to go through to learn about our sun, and how they predict it will all end eventually, at Gizmodo. (Image credit: Alvesgaspar) #sun #astronomy
This Nebula Looks Like GodzillaWith bright spots that look like "piercing eyes and an elongated snout," this nebula found in the constellation Sagittarius certainly bears a resemblance to Godzilla.Robert Hurt, the Caltech astronomer who processed the image captured by NASA's now-retired Spitzer Space Telescope, was the first one to spot its resemblance to the "king of the monsters." Hurt wasn't really looking for monsters, but when he saw the bright spots in the photograph, that's when he noticed the resemblance of the picture to the Japanese fictional monster.Amazingly terrifying!(Image Credit: NASA/ JPL-Caltech via DailyMail)#Godzilla #Astronomy #Caltech #NASA #Nebula
AS0039, Located in the Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy 290,000 Light-Years Away May be the Oldest Star in the UniverseIn its earliest days, the universe was just a black void of darkness, and what gave it light was the first stars that formed. These stars in question belong to the category known as Population III stars. Unfortunately, we haven't found any orbs of light from this category... but we may have found a star that incorporated elements from that group — the AS0039.The AS0039 is a strange star in that it exhibits low levels of metals. If proven to be a remnant of Pop III stars, it could be a clue to help us learn more about the beginning of our universe.Learn more about this fascinating star over at ScienceAlert.(Image Credit: NASA/WikiSky via Wikimedia Commons)#Astronomy #Pop3 #BigBang
Hear Mercury for the First Time: ESA BepiColombo's First Sound from the Planetary FlybyThe ESA's BepiColombo spacecraft did a successful Mercury flyby earlier this October. During its flyby, the spacecraft not only captured some stunning photos of the planet's surface. It also captured some audio from the journey. Engineers from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) have transformed this audio data from the spacecraft into a sonification, and now we can hear it with our own ears.It is clarified, however, that these sounds are not acoustic waves. In reality, they are spacecraft vibrations captured by the Italian Spring Accelerometer (ISA) instrument aboard the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), one of the satellites that comprise the BepiColombo spacecraft.Still, it's really cool!(Image Credit: Europlanet via Twitter)#Astronomy #Space #ESA #JAXA #Mercury #BepiColombo #Sonification
Meteorite Crashes Landed on a Woman's Bed while She Slept, Barely Missing Her HeadA meteorite crashes on the bedroom of a woman's home in Golden, B.C. Ruth Hamilton was sound asleep when the sound of her dog barking woke her up. She said in an interview that the next thing that happened was just a huge explosion and that debris was all over her face. As she rolled back the pillows where she was sleeping, a charcoal-grey chunk of rock, roughly the size of a melon, was found. After piercing into the roof, the meteorite that landed on the floral pillowcases was just inches away from Hamilton's head before getting up at the sound of the dog’s bark. That was a close call!Initially, the meteorite was suspected to be debris from a construction site on a nearby highway. After reporting the rock to a team of experts from the Western University in London, Ont., the meteorite was confirmed to come from space.All Images: Ruth Hamilton#Meteorite #CloseCall #Astronomy
BepiColombo's First Pictures of MercuryBepiColombo has successfully pulled off a flawless flyby to Mercury recently, and it was able to take some pictures of the planet. Unfortunately, the spacecraft arrived on the planet's night side, and so the closest image was from a distance of about 1000km. However, the pictures were detailed enough to capture the impact craters on the Mercury's surface.Valentina Galluzzi, the co-investigator of BepiColombo’s SIMBIO-SYS imaging system, was excited to meet Mercury finally, after years of studying the planet.Here are the photos captured by the spacecraft. See the captions of each image over at The European Space Agency (ESA).(All Images: ESA)#Astronomy #Flyby #ESA #BepiColombo
Astronomers Discovered First Planet to Orbit 3 StarsResearchers and colleagues from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) may have discovered the first planet orbiting three stars. That's right. Not one. Not two. But three stars. The star system was found only 1,300 light-years away from Earth.Now you might think that this is highly unusual, but it isn't. It is believed that half of the star systems have two or more stars gravitationally bound to each other.The planet was observed via the Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope, and scientists believe that the said planet is a gas giant. Research lead author Jeremy Smallwood states that gas giants form first before terrestrial planets like Earth and Mars.(All Images: ALMA / ESO / NAOJ / NRAO / University of Exeter / Kraus et al. via Sci-News)#Astronomy #StarSystem #CircumtripleOrbit #ALMA
230 Megapixel Photo of the Sun by Andrew McCarthy"It's the clearest picture of the sun, ever!" or at least that's what the Internet would like you to believe. Unfortunately, it isn't, and Andrew McCarthy admits to that fact. This image certainly is high-quality (this is a 230-megapixel image, after all). However, McCarthy believes that there are even better photos of the sun out there than his. However, in HIS pictures of the sun, this was the clearest, according to him.But I guess you can't argue with the Internet.However, I can say that this is, indeed, the "clearest picture of the sun"... that I have ever seen.(All Images: Andrew McCarthy via Instagram)#Astronomy #Sun #HighQualityPhotograph
NASA Found Massive "Dead" Galaxies that Ran Out of Fuel to Create StarsBack when it was just 3 billion years old, our universe experienced its most prolific period of star birth. Back then, galaxies formed stars here and there, thanks to the abundance of cold hydrogen gas. However, despite this abundance, some galaxies "died" at this period in time. And these weren't your ordinary galaxies. These were massive galaxies.So what happened to their supply of cold gas? Kate Whitaker, the lead author of this cosmic study, asks this question and proposes some possible explanations.The first possible explanation is that a supermassive black hole heated all the gas. Another was that these galaxies used up all their gas supply as they tried to make stars as quickly as possible.The study of these dead galaxies was made possible through the combination of data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).More about this over at NASA.(Image Credit: NASA/ ALMA; Processing: Joseph DePasquale (STScI))#Astronomy #Galaxies #StarFormation #NASA #ALMA
NASA Turned Exploded Stars into MusicAstronomical data collected from powerful telescopes are usually presented visually in the form of images and charts. But NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and their Universe of Learning program did something different this time. Instead of converting said data into images, the institution converted them into sounds that we can hear. This sonification project allowed us to appreciate the beauty of the cosmos by our sense of hearing.The recent additions to this project are three exciting regions in space. These are Westerlund 2, SN 1572, and Messier 87. Westerlund 2 is a region in space containing some of the hottest, brightest, and most massive stars that are ever known.SN 1572, also known as Tycho's supernova remnant, is a debris field left behind by an exploding star. This supernova was recorded in early November 1572.Messier 87, on the other hand, is a region containing the most popular black hole. The said black hole is also the first and only one to be imaged.(Image Credit: Chandra X-ray Observatory via YouTube)#Stars #Astronomy #Space #Sonification #NASA
Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2021Winners of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2021 competition have just been announced. The annual astronomy photography competition, now in its 13th year, is hosted by the Royal Observatory Greenwich and drew more than 4,500 entries, including many featuring images of distant galaxies that require the use of powerful telescopes.The overall winner of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2021 was Shuchang Dong who took this deceptively simple photo of a solar eclipse titled "The Golden Ring" shown above. Dong took the photo in the Ali region of Tibet on June 21, 2020."This place has year-round sunny weather, but in front of the annular eclipse, I saw dark clouds all over the sky," Dong said, "We were waiting with anxious minds but we were lucky. Within a minute of the annular eclipse, the sunshine penetrated through the clouds and afterwards the Sun was sucked into the thick clouds.""This image demonstrates both the beauty and simplicity of an eclipse, but also the science behind this astronomical event," noted competition judge Emily Drabek-Maunder, "Our sun can still be seen as a ring circling the Moon as it passes in front of the Sun, and mountains on the lunar surface can be seen hiding some of this light on the lower righthand portion of the image. This is a stunning achievement!"View more of the fantastic photos of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition below.#astronomy #photography #AstronomyPhotographeroftheYear #ShuchangDong #sun #solareclipse
Strange 160 Mile-Long Kleopatra Asteroid is Shaped like a 'Dog-Bone' and Has Two Small MoonsA team of astronomers has captured the most detailed images of the asteroid Kleopatra. Thanks to photographs taken with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT), experts were able to determine the 3D shape and mass of the asteroid.Initial sightings of the celestial object made scientists conclude that the asteroid is shaped like a dog bone. In addition, the said asteroid has moons orbiting around it. Astronomer Frank Marchis and his colleagues named the moons AlexHelios and CleoSelene, after the Egyptian queen’s children when they initially discovered their existence in 2008. Using the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch (SPHERE) instrument on ESO’s VLT, astronomers viewed Kleopatra from different angles to create the most accurate 3D model to date. From the model, experts were able to determine the length of the asteroid to be about 270 kilometers. In addition, one of its lobes was larger than the other.Image credit: European Southern Observatory #Astronomy #Asteroids #Kleopatra #EuropeanSouthernObservatory #VeryLargeTelescope #Space
Like a Galactic Lightsaber Piercing a Celestial Heart: Hubble's Wide Field Camera3 Captured a Herbig-Haro ObjectThe unusual celestial phenomenon seen in this stunning picture is known as a Herbig-Haro Object. This specific object is named HH111 and was captured by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 or WFC3. These picturesque objects are formed under specific conditions where newly formed stars are very active and, in some cases, expel narrow jets of rapidly moving ionized charges. The stream of ionized gas then collides with the clouds of gas and dust around the newly formed stars at insane speeds of hundreds of kilometers per second.Herbig-Haro objects emit a lot of visible light, but they are surrounded by gas and dust, which absorb the light. WFC’s ability to observe at both optical and infrared wavelengths mean that it is able to observe the Herbig-Haro objects as infrared is not affected by the gas and dust.#Space #Hubble #Astronomy #Camera #HerbigHaro #NASA #ESA​Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, B. Nisini
The Results Of Amateur Astronomer’s Attempt To Point A Telescope To Jupiter For 6 HoursAmateur astronomer Deddy Dayag has managed to capture astonishing footage of Jupiter with his equipment!For six hours, Dayag pointed his telescope to the sky in order to capture a recording of the planet. The 16-second video is composed of 452,000 frames! The hobbyist’s camera took 1000 frames per minute. After editing and compiling all the footage from his telescope’s ‘watch duty,’ the frames were condensed into the short clip below. #Space #Planets #Jupiter #Astronomy #PlanetWatching #telescope
Supermassive Black Holes Spawned Massive Cosmic "Dancing Ghosts"Astronomers from Western Sydney University and Australia's national science agency CSIRO have discovered a strange electron cloud deep in the universe the that looks like "two dancing ghosts."The strange cloud was discovered during a deep sky survey using CSIRO's Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope."When we first saw the 'dancing ghosts' we had no idea what they were," said lead researcher Ray Norris in a statement. "After weeks of work, we figured out we were seeing two 'host' galaxies, about a billion light years away. In their centers are two supermassive black holes, squirting out jets of electrons that are then bent into grotesque shapes by an intergalactic wind."Image: Western Sydney University#galaxy #blackhole #ghost #electroncloud #dancing #astronomy #radiotelescope
Astronomers Found a Moon-Forming Disc Around an Exoplanet 400 Light-Year AwayYou've probably seen images of circumplanetary disc - or ring of matter that orbit a planet - on the cover of imaginative sci-fi novels before, but astronomers have finally captured the first image of such actual disc around a planet outside of our solar system.Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, astronomer Myriam Benisty and colleagues observed a disc surrounding the exoplanet PDS 70c, a giant Jupiter-like planet orbiting a star 400 light-years away."Our ALMA observations were obtained at such exquisite resolution that we could clearly identify that the disc is associated with the planet and we are able to constrain its size for the first time," Benisty said in a statement by the European Southern Observatory.Astronomers noted that the disc surrounding PDS 70c is huge: it's about 500 times larger than Saturn's rings.Circumplanetary discs are thought to play a significant role in the formation of moons and satellites, as its gas and dust come together into progressively larger bodies through multiple collisions, ultimately becoming moons.Images:ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/Benisty et al.#circumplanetarydisc #ALMA #astronomy #astrophysics #EuropeanSouthernObservatory #PDS70c #planet #exoplanet #moonformingdisc
Image of a Gigantic Jet in the Heart of a Black Hole Captured by the Event Horizon TelescopeThe Event Horizon Telescope (ETH) has released a fascinating new image of an astrophysical jet of matters spewing out of a black hole in the Centaurus A galaxy.The image shows a jet with a dark center flanked by two parallel stripes with bright, glowing edges. Astronomers think that the jet may have that bright edge because its outer regions are rubbing against the surrounding gas and dust, thus causing them to glow.But what drives the powerful jets? Science Magazine explains two theories:One theory holds that an accretion disk, the swirling whirlpool of matter spiraling into the black hole, generates a magnetic field that funnels some of the matter into a jet. Others argue this magnetic field must tap into the rotational energy of the black hole itself to be able to achieve such colossal power.The new observations of Centaurus A don’t resolve that question, but they hold clues. Janssen says the images show that the remarkably parallel edges of the jet narrow into a cone close to the black hole. The base of that cone remains wide, [Michael Janssen of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy] says, which might suggest it is coming from the accretion disk. “It remains to be seen,” he says.#astrophysicaljet #astronomy #astrophysics #ETH #EventHorizonTelescope #blackhole #CentaurusA
The Booziest Comet Ever! Comet 46P/Wirtanen has the Highest Alcohol Content of Any CometComet 46P/Wirtanen was nicknamed the "Christmas Comet" when it made its flyby of Earth back in 2018, due to its holiday timing and its bright green glow. Now, a new study shows why it has another reason for its holiday cheer: it's full of booze!"46P/Wirtanen has one of the highest alcohol-to-aldehyde ratios measured in any comet to date," stated cometary scientist Neil Dello Russo of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory who studied the comet at the W.M. Keck Observatory on Manuakea in Hawaii, "This tells us information about how carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen molecules were distributed in the early solar system where Wirtanen formed."Image: Martin Stojanovski/Wikimedia Commons​#comet #alcohol #Christmas #astronomy #WMKeckObservatory