Bad Astronomy

Celestron astropix winners are up!

The winners of the “Capture the Universe” astrophotography contest have been announced and are now up for your viewing!

OK, I suppose that may need some explanation.

Celestron contest image of Comet Holmes
In June, Discover Magazine and Celestron announced a contest for people to submit their best pictures of the sky using Celestron equipment. For a judge they wisely chose an experienced and seasoned astronomer, skilled in the arcane arts of astrophotography and critical analysis of aesthetics… oh wait, no they didn’t, they asked me to do it.

The contest ran all month, and in the end there were over 150 pictures entered. It was very tough making the choices! For example, there lots of incredible images of galaxies, but I didn’t want five out of the top ten being all of one kind of object. I tried to spread it around, but even then it was difficult choosing.

But I finally made my decisions, and the Top Ten (actually 11, because I’m a wuss and ran two images tied) are now on display in a gorgeous gallery of galactic, uh, gorgeousness.

My congrats to the winner, who will receive a Celestron NexStar 8SE computerized telescope, a very nice prize that makes me very, very jealous! I’d also like to thank very much the fine folks at Celestron and of course The Hive Overmind Discover Magazine for running this contest and allowing me to judge it. It was an absolute pleasure to go through so many beautiful images of the night sky, even though it was torture picking the best ones.

Seeing all these entries reminds me that astronomy has come a long, long way in the past few years. Equipment that is very affordable allows people to make incredibly beautiful and astonishing pictures of celestial objects, images that even a couple of decades ago were only possible from professional astronomers using large observatories. Amazing.