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Photography

Brilliant Star Trails Sweep Above a Fierce Tangle of Lightning in a Striking Photo

September 26, 2022

Grace Ebert

Image © Marc Sellés Llimós, shared with permission

Back in June, Marc Sellés Llimós photographed multiple instances of illumination in a single nighttime sky. From the village of Manlleu, Osona, where he lives and works, Sellés Llimós captured a fierce thunderstorm as it raged on the other side of the Serra de Bellmunt mountain in Carcassonne, France. The 380-image composite shows a brilliant tangle of lightning below sweeping star trails, produced with a slow, six-minute exposure. According to NASA, which featured the work as one of its astronomy photos of the day, the trails reflect the Earth’s daily rotation around its axis, and the extent of their curvatures represents the distance from the north pole.

Head to Instagram to purchase a print and to see an archive of Sellés Llimós’s photos.  (via Peta Pixel)

 

 



Photography

A Rare Glimpse of Comet Leonard’s Last Moments Wins the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Contest

September 16, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Disconnection Event” © Gerald Rhemann, Tivoli Southern Sky Guest Farm, Khomas, Namibia, December 25, 2021. All images © Astronomy Photographer of the Year, shared with permission

The brilliant Comet Leonard put on a mesmerizing performance late last year when it streaked across the sky on Christmas Day. Expelled from the solar system shortly after, the celestial matter captivated photographers around the world during its brief stint of visibility, including Gerald Rhemann who captured the illuminated body as its gas tail disconnected from its nucleus and was swept away by solar wind. The incredibly rare and brief event also garnered Rhemann the top prize in this year’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest.

Hosted by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the 14th-annual competition received more than 3,000 entries from 67 countries. This year’s collection includes a glowing, avian-like aurora over Murmansk Oblast and the International Space Station as it flies over the Apollo 11 moon-landing site—the latter was taken by Andrew McCarthy, whose galactic photos have been featured multiple times on Colossal.

Explore all of the winning images on the contest’s site, and if you’re in London, stop by the National Maritime Museum to see the photos in person through August 13, 2023.

 

“Winged Aurora” © Alexander Stepanenko, Murmansk, Murmansk Oblast, Russia, January 15, 2022

“Stabbing Into the Stars” © Zihui Hu, Nyingchi, Tibet, China, December 24, 2021

“Back to the Spaceship” © Mihail Minkov, Buzludzha, Balkan Mountains, Stara Zagora Province, Bulgaria, August 12, 2021

“The Night Highway” © Filip Hrebenda, Stokksnes Peninsula, Iceland, April 11, 2021

“Moon: Big Mosaic” © Andrea Vanoni, Porto Mantovano, Lombardy, Italy, January 19, 2021

“The International Space Station Transiting Tranquility Base” © Andrew McCarthy, Florence, Arizona, USA, January 19, 2022

“In the Embrace of a Green Lady” © Filip Hrebenda, Hvalnes, Iceland, April 10, 2021

 

 



Design

Cosmic Cliffs Infinite Galaxy Puzzle Features New Imagery from the James Webb Space Telescope

July 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

All photos courtesy Nervous System, shared with permission

This week, the first images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope amazed and daunted us with their inordinately deep looks at the cosmos, particularly the shot of the glimmering star-forming region known as the “Cosmic Cliffs” of the Carina Nebula. The team over at the Catskills-based studio Nervous System translated this galactic masterpiece into a new, similarly expansive infinity puzzle intended to be tiled continuously, with no predetermined shape, start, or end. Similar to its other designs, this iteration includes four whimsy cuts in the shape of an astronaut, a shooting star, a satellite, and the gold mirrors of the groundbreaking telescope itself. Try your hand at puzzling together distant galaxies by picking up the 264-piece jigsaw from the Nervous System shop.

 

 

 



Photography Science

Brilliant Phenomena and Galactic Skies Light Up the 2022 Astronomy Photographer of the Year Shortlist

July 6, 2022

Grace Ebert

An Icelandic Saga by Carl Gallagher

Whether in the form of nebulae or starry galactic expanses, natural light continues to dominate Royal Museums Greenwich’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition (previously). The 14th annual contest garnered more than 3,000 submissions from 67 countries, and a shortlist of finalists contains stunning shots of a September harvest moon illuminating Glastonbury Tor, the brilliant streaks trailing Comet Leonard, and the vibrant Aurora Borealis casting an ominous glow above a battered ship in Westfjords.

Winning photos will be announced on September 15 with an exhibition opening at the National Maritime Museum on September 17. Until then, peruse the full collection on the Royal Museum Greenwich site.

 

Oregon coast by Marcin Zając

Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) by Lionel Majzik

Equinox Moon and Glastonbury Tor by Hannah Rochford

Solar Wind Power by Esa Pekka Isomursu

Clouds of Hydrogen Gas by Simon Tang

Rosette Nebula Core Region (NGC2244) by Alpha Zhang

Badwater Milky Way by Abhijit Patil

 

 



Art

Tiny Human Activities Erupt into Vast Celestial Nightscapes in New Paintings by Oliver Jeffers

May 26, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Oliver Jeffers, courtesy of Praise Shadows Art Gallery, shared with permission

Whether working in acrylic on panel or illustrating a scene for one of his children’s books, artist Oliver Jeffers is fascinated by positioning. He returns to questions about perspective and finding a place in the world amidst chaotic politics and an overwhelmingly vast universe.

In The Night in Bloom, a series of ten works soon to be on view at Praise Shadows Art Gallery in Brookline, Massachusetts, Jeffers imagines explosive astronomical scenes and impeccably aligned constellations. One work shrouds an abandoned picnic in deep blues and purples before erupting into a bright nebula, cradling stars between the soft glow of city skylines. Another piece, which the artist will replicate at a massive scale on a facade at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, depicts a figure at home underneath a colorful expanse of galaxies and celestial bodies.

Each of the stellar works, which are the artist’s first rendered in acrylic, celebrates the possibilities of the unknown. He explains:

The worlds beyond our world, whose clues only reveal themselves when the light of our day grows low enough to view the dramatic and brilliantly colorful heavens after dusk, suggest a vastness we cannot possibly comprehend above our heads. These are the same heads that grow bored of looking for what to play on the radio, wonder when our internet purchase will arrive, or what activity we will use to pass the time this weekend. Perhaps there is more to this business of being alive than we give ourselves time (and perspective) to enjoy.

Jeffers, who splits his time between Belfast and Brooklyn, recently unveiled Our Place in Space, a series of sculptures that bring the solar system to Northern Ireland and Cambridge. This immersive experience complements The Night in Bloom, which will run from June 3 to July 10. Explore more of the artist’s dreamy paintings, sculptures, and illustrations on his site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography Science

A Timelapse of Dazzling Star Trails Swirl Around a Psychedelic Nightscape at Joshua Tree

April 6, 2022

Grace Ebert

Set to a gentle, upbeat track by Moby Gratis, “Moonlight Mojave” spins through the desert landscape of Joshua Tree National Park under the glow of a night sky. The timelapse compiles 20-second exposures into a deceptive display of light and movement, with the moon and stars illuminating the arid expanses as if it were daytime. Peeking through the eponymous, shrub-like trees, photographer Gavin Heffernan (previously) captures radiant star trails that streak across the bright blue sky, emphasizing the earth’s usually imperceptible rotation.

The entrancing video is part of the multi-faceted Skyglow project, a collaborative effort between Heffernan, director Harun Mehmedinovic (previously)—he’s behind the documentary Ice on Fire—and the International Dark-Sky Association. Exploring the effects of light pollution on the already fragile planet, Skyglow is comprised of multiple video works like “Moonlight Mojave,” a book and print collection, and a forthcoming feature-length film. You can explore more from the project’s creators on its site.