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Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2011 – the solar selection

Last month I attended the Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards, held at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, with fellow Solar Stormwatch forum moderator ElisabethB (Els) and fellow Moon Zoo forum moderator Geoff. The overall winner was an amazing photo of Jupiter, Io and Ganymede by Damian Peach showing detail on the two moons  – well worth pouring over in high resolution. Some solar astrophotos made the final list this year. In particular Dani Caxete’s photo of the ISS crossing the Sun was one of our favourites as this required nerves of steel to click the shutter at the precise moment.

Here are the solar related photos that made it through to the finals.

“Earth and Space” category runners up:

Divine Presence
by Ole C. Salomonsen (Norway)

high resolution version
Volcanic Aurora
by Örvar Atli Þorgeirsson (Iceland)

high resolution version

“Our Solar System” category runners up:

May 7th Hydrogen-Alpha Sun
by Peter Ward (Australia)

high resolution version
ISS and Endeavour crossing the Sun
by Dani Caxete (Spain)

high resolution version

And here are some that didn’t make the final:

Another ISS transit
by Thierry Legault
Entitled “solar keyhole”
by Steven Christenson
A different kind of transit
by astronominsk
A fabulous sunset
by Stefano De Rosa
A sun halo
by Niki Giada

More photos and information on the APOTY website and the Flickr APOTY pool.

Big questions answered

The astronomers at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich produce a regular podcast where they answer the public’s questions about astronomy.

What is a star?

If you have a big question about the sun (or anything else astronomical), they’d love to answer it – just call 020 8123 9911 to record your question, then listen in to hear if it’s answered in the latest episode.


Zooniverse meetups, August-September 2010

Solar Stormwatch is just one part of a ‘Zooniverse’ of citizen science projects, which began with Galaxy Zoo and recently grew to include Moon Zoo. If you’d like to meet the people behind the Zooniverse, there’s a meetup of the Oxford team on 20 August.

And, if you want to shape the future of citizen science, you can come along to the Citizen Cyberscience Summit at King’s College London on 2-3 September:

  • Steven Bamford, astrophysicist and Zooniverse science director, will talk about the science that Galaxy Zoo is generating
  • Solar Stormwatch’s volunteer forum moderator, Jules, will be on a panel discussing why people volunteer their time for science projects, what they learn from it, and how social networking helps science
  • Philip Brohan from the UK Met Office will introduce a new Zooniverse project that opens up historical climate records

(There’s a registration fee of £10 for the summit, which includes refreshment breaks and lunch on both days.)


It’s Solar Season at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich

Right now, it’s Solar Season at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich – so if Solar Stormwatch has fired up your interest in all things Sun-related why not come along? You could make a day of it, with a planetarium show, workshops, talks, our interactive galleries, and of course, that great view!

If you’re new to Solar Stormwatch – or have friends and family you’d like to introduce it to – why not pop in to one of the Become a Solar Scientist sessions on Saturday 17th April. They’re suitable for ages 11+, are free and happening throughout the day at 14.00, 14.40, 15.20, and 16.00.

You could also check out our free exhibition, Solar Story – Understanding the Sun, or sit back and watch Secrets of the Sun in the Peter Harrison Planetarium. It’s showing at 14.30 on term-time weekdays and at 14.00, 14.45, and 15.30 on weekends and holidays. You can book tickets online at

Finally, more experienced storm-spotters might enjoy Becky Higgitt’s talk about the history of solar science at Greenwich. It’s happening at 19.00 on Thursday 6th May. Tickets cost £8 and can be booked by emailing or by calling 020 8312 6608. The Bookings office is open from 10.00-16.00.

The view from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich in spring.The view from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich in spring.