February 22, 2008

TWAN and IYA 2009

The latest edition of the CAP Journal (click here), a publication of the International Astronomical Union, contains not one but two wonderful surprises. Babak Tafreshi's photo of Orion rising above the Alborz Mountains in northern Iran (click here) graced the front cover of the magazine. The photo is a prelude to a five-page article within the magazine co-authored by Babak and Mike Simmons and which describes TWAN's goals and objectives while simultaneously announcing its designation as an IYA 2009 Special Project.
Congratulations are due for this exceptional collaboration with the IYA/IAU whose common goal of bringing the beauty of the overhead sky to everyone is a basic underlying principle and objective.

Colourful display

Our closest celestial neighbour has been charming humanity ever since man first became aware of his environment thanks to its variable brightness and apparent size as well as the daily metamorphosis in its appearance. This dynamic behaviour takes on a further dimension during a total lunar eclipse where colour comes into play as well.

Using an extended multi-hour exposure, TWAN member Stefan Seip captured with great virtuosity Luna's metamorphosis during a total lunar eclipse over the course of a few hours. His photo which appeared as NASA AstroPhoto of the Day on February 20, 2008 (click here) beautifully documents the change in apparent brightness and colour one observes during an eclipse including the minute and subtle changes in colouration during totality as well as the nonlinear motion of the moon across the sky.

Congrats Stefan for "one photo, a thousand words"!

February 16, 2008

Two eyes over Arizona

The Large Binocular Telescope Observatory sitting on Mount Graham, Arizona, is comprised of two mirrors with a diameter of 8.4 meters each and which has the ability to work in both the visual and infrared portions of the spectrum.

Amongst its impressive and ambitious list of objectives is the imaging of some of the 270+ exoplanets discovered so far orbitting far-away stars. Some initial "first-light" images helped reveal yet another companion dwarf galaxy to the Milky Way and which has been dubbed the Hercules Dwarf Galaxy.

Globe-trotter and TWAN member Stefan Seip recently visited Mount Graham and captured a dramatic photo of the overhead Milky Way from the immediate vicinity of the LBT. Stefan's widefield view of our galaxy was featured on NASA's AstroPhoto of the Day (click here) for February 16th, 2008.

Nice work Stefan!

Moonrise Over Vallentuna, Sweden

Take a frosty early evening with the eastern sky painted by the rays of the setting sun due west, add a rising full moon and a calm lake and you have an impressive and romantic scene. TWAN member P-M Hedén combined all of these elements for his "Moonrise Over Vallentuna" photo and which was featured as "Earth Photo of the Day" (click here) on the EPOD website for February 13, 2008.

Congrats P-M for this impressive composition!

February 2, 2008

Jupiter and Venus Over the Caspian Sea

The two brightest planets of our solar system put on an impressive conjunction during a brief period in late January and early February, 2008 lying less than a degree apart. TWAN member Babak Tafreshi's wonderful photo of this impressive conjunction over the shores of the Caspian Sea was featured on NASA's AstroPhoto of the Day (click here).

Many congratulations for this impressive capture!