OBSERVATORY STUDENT’S PRIZE-WINNING IMAGES SELECTED FOR DUBLIN EXHIBITION

Armagh Observatory, 8th February 2016: Towards the end of last year Armagh Observatory PhD student, Ruxandra Toma, won several prizes in the Romanian national astrophotography competition “Astrofoto 2015”. Two of the most interesting of these images, that is, a montage of last September’s total lunar eclipse and a montage of a bright double rainbow that evolved into a rare “spoked” wheel rainbow, were recently selected for display at the exhibition of astronomical photographs, “Images of Starlight”, in the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland, Glasnevin, Dublin. The images were obtained by Ruxandra Toma and compiled with the assistance of research technician James Finnegan and PhD student Onur Satir.

The Dublin astronomical photographic exhibition was organized by the Irish Astronomical Society and the Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies and launched on 1st February 2016. It runs until the 21st February, and includes beautiful astronomical photographs taken from back gardens and scenic landscapes throughout the island of Ireland, aiming to showcase the very best work of Irish astro-photographers country-wide.

Professor Mark Bailey, Director of Armagh Observatory, said: “The Irish National Botanic Gardens, just a few miles from the centre of Dublin, are an oasis calm and beauty. Likewise, the brilliant images captured by amateur astronomers throughout the island of Ireland inspire us all with the beauty of our shared celestial heritage and provide a deeper understanding of our place in space.”

The exhibition shows astronomical objects in our near Universe ranging from the Moon, to the Sun (our nearest star), to planets in our solar system and much more distant stars and brightly lit nebulae in our Milky Way galaxy, to galaxies millions of light years away. It provides a snapshot in time of the huge range of different classes of object that can be seen in the sky through small telescopes and imaged with modern digital cameras so as to capture their fascinating structure and full beauty. Examples of the Observatory student’s prize-winning images selected for display in this national exhibition are shown below and can be downloaded from http://star.arm.ac.uk/~meb/images_starlight/

For further information, see the Dublin Botanic Gardens website, http://www.botanicgardens.ie/, and http://star.arm.ac.uk/press/2015/sept_total_lunar_eclipse_pr.html. The Irish Astronomical Society (see http://www.irishastrosoc.org/), the lead organizer of the “Images of Starlight” photographic exhibition, was founded in 1937, and is the longest existing astronomical organization in Ireland. It is a voluntary (non-commercial) organization established to foster an interest in the wonders of the night sky. Members include both amateur and professional astronomers. Images from the Romanian astrophotography competition can be viewed at: http://www.sarm.ro/astrofoto2015/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Mark Bailey at the Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG. Tel.: 028-3752-2928; FAX: 028-3752-7174; meb@arm.ac.uk; URL: http://star.arm.ac.uk/


Poster

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Total eclipse of the Moon seen from Armagh Observatory on 28th September 2015, recorded by Ruxandra Toma using the Skywatcher Equinox 120 finder telescope on the Armagh Robotic Telescope (ART). The digital images were obtained and compiled with the assistance of James Finnegan and Onur Satir. For an animated gif of the total eclipse, see link from http://star.arm.ac.uk/press/2015/sept_total_lunar_eclipse_pr.html

Poster

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Double and unusual “spoked” rainbow recorded by Ruxandra Toma on 27th August 2015 (cf. http://climate.arm.ac.uk/scans/2015/08/COMMENTS.html) with assistance from James Finnegan. The double rainbow evolved into the “wheel” example, shown at right, after approximately 10 minutes.

Poster

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Evolution of double-rainbow observed on 27th August 2015 to unusual “wheel” and spoked wheel form. The montage of four images, which was selected for display at the “Images of Starlight” exhibition, shows how the rainbow evolved over a period of approximately 10 minutes.

"Irish Times article about the Images of Starlight Exhibition" http://www.irishtimes.com/news/science/images-of-starlight-1.2509399

Last Revised: 2016 February 10th