Astro Advent 2019 – Days 1-12

Astro Advent 2019 – Days 1-12
The Moon and Jupiter above the Winter Triangle, photographed by John Chumack

Northern lights, space probes, astronomers, astronauts, stars, planets and other interesting things in space and astronomy. They're in the astro countdown to Christmas on the Bellaonline Astronomy Forum.

Only a few of the days have picture links, but you can see all of the images on the advent calendar thread on the forum.

1 The Watcher, is the winner of the Aurorae category of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2019. Nicolai Brügger hiked in the snow to the top of the mountain Offersøykammen in Norway's Lofoten Islands to get this picture.

2 John Chumack photographed the Moon and Jupiter above the asterism of the Winter Triangle on a clear Iowa night, as seen in the header image. The Winter Triangle is made up of the three bright stars of Betelgeuse in Orion, Procyon in Canis Minor and Sirius in Canis Major

3 On November 30, 2019, the Mars rover Curiosity photographed sunrise over Gale Crater with an engineering camera. It was in black and white to save data volume, but the next rover's engineering cameras will be the first to take color photos.

4 The Leviathan of Parsonstown was built in the early 1840s by the Third Earl of Rosse at Birr Castle in Ireland. It was the biggest telescope in the world for seven decades, and powerful enough to show the spiral nature of some some nebulae.

5 Former cosmonaut Alexei Leonov died in October. He had been the first person to make a spacewalk, but was more than a spacefarer. Leonov and Apollo astronaut David Scott wrote a dual memoir on the space race in Two Sides of the Moon. And as an artist since his youth, Leonov had taken paper and colored pencils into space in order to sketch. On Earth, he painted numerous scenes of space.

6 The amazing French photographer Thierry Legault not only captured the July 2019 total solar eclipse, but he doubled the effect by getting a a reflection of the eclipse in a lake. He could have been unlucky with the wind, but the water was unruffled, and the outcome was perfect. The photo was taken with a single exposure of 1/15 of a second.

7 Sometimes the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, are in conjunction – this means they seem to be close together in the sky. Emma Zulaiha Zulkifli caught this conjunction in the pre-dawn eastern sky in Kundasang, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia. Venus is above Jupiter.

8 In 2019, for the first time ever, a black hole was imaged. The object itself is completely dark since even light can't escape from it. However, the black hole's boundary – the event horizon – casts a shadow, and that's what was seen when a supercomputer processed the data from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).

9 Omega Centauri is a globular cluster. It's so densely packed with stars – about 10 million in a volume of 150 light years – that their mutual gravity pulls them into a spherical shape. Star clusters usually contain stars that formed at the same time, but there is such a wide spread of ages and composition, Omega Centauri may be the remnant of a dwarf galaxy merging with the Milky Way.

10 Anton Komlev created this beautiful image of star trails. The central focus is weathered lines of the remains of a tree. In the background, the Earth's rotation produced the colorful concentric arcs around the south celestial pole below the horizon, and also around the north celestial pole off to the upper right. The different colors show the temperatures of the stars – blue stars are hotter than the Sun, red stars are cooler.

11 Nasa astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir made history by completing the first ever all-female spacewalk. They spent seven hours outside the International Space Station (ISS) replacing a failed power control unit.

12 Some 40-50 million light years away lies NGC 1566, the spiral galaxy also known as the Spanish Dancer. It has a particularly bright center because it's a Seyfert-type galaxy, meaning that its nucleus contains an active black hole.

Note: To see the days from December 13 through to Christmas follow the link below.



You Should Also Read:
Astro Advent 2019 – Days 13-24
Aurorae - Polar Light Shows
Cosmonauts - Birth of the Space Age

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