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Armagh Observatory student wins national astrophotography competition

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.

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 can be viewed on the Observatory’s website.

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