Pretty Astronomy pictures

The Greenwich Observatory’s astrophotographer of the year competition has ended with the shortlist of ten now turned to four – photo of the year (won by a snap of the Horsehead Nebula), Winner for the Earth and Space Category (star trails over some trees), Winner for the Solar System Category (Daytime Moon…). The Horsehead Nebula was of course the winner in Deep Space as well as overall. The winners and a few others can be seen here, though I’m very disappointed that the auroral image is given a description suggesting the aurorae are due to the solar wind getting funnelled down. They’re not (except for cusp aurorae and aurorae due to flares) and the National Maritime Museum should know better. If you’re scared of writing about magnetospheres, get someone who knows what they’re doing on the case.

On the other hand, if you’ve been wowed by images from the early release following the Hubble Servicing Mission Four and are interested to know what the colours mean – do they represent colours we might see, are they there to enhance contrast, what does it mean when wavelengths such as ultraviolet or infrared, which are not visible to the naked eye and so don’t have a real colour, are included? – then look here for a clear and concise explanation.

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