Space is a Beautiful Place
The Royal Greenwich Observatory announced the finalists for its sixth annual Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. Here are a few that made the cut. Winners will be announced in September.
01: Ivan Eder (top)
Royal Observatory… says: Situated 7500 light years away in the ‘W’-shaped constellation of Cassiopeia, the Heart Nebula is a vast region of glowing gas, energized by a cluster of young stars at its centre. The image depicts the central region, where dust clouds are being eroded and moulded into rugged shapes by the searing cosmic radiation.
02: Anneliese Possberg
Royal Observatory… says: The spectacular Northern Lights pictured unfolding over a fjord, in Skjervøy, Troms, Norway. The vibrant colours are produced at various altitudes by different atmospheric gases, with blue light emitted by nitrogen and green by oxygen. Red light can be produced by both gases, while purples, pinks and yellows occur where the various colours mix and intersect.
03: Mark Hanson
Royal Observatory… says: This colourful starscape taken from Rancho Hidalgo, New Mexico, USA reveals the searing heat of the Crescent Nebula glowing in a whirl of red and blue. The emission nebula is a colossal shell of material ejected from a powerful but short-lived Wolf-Rayet star (WR 136), seen close to the image centre. Ultraviolet radiation and stellar wind now heats the swelling cloud, causing it to glow.
Photos for the RGO competition are on Flickr. You can view the 14 finalists here. You can view the 2,500 or so submissions here.
Images: Select to embiggen.