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Award-winning ‘Bailys Beads’, schoolyard accelerators , pulsar poems and more


By Tushna Commissariat

Its officially that time of the year again when we can marvel at this year’s winners of the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016. The awards ceremony, held at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, has unveiled some truly spectacular and ethereal shots of our universe. The overall winner this year is a truly amazing composite image of the 2016 total solar eclipse that shows the ‘Baily’s Beads’ phenomenon and was taken by photographer Yu Jun in Luwuk, Indonesia. In the video above, the judges explain why this particular image was the main winner for the year.

One of my favourite images from this year is is ‘City Lights’ taken by photographer Wing Ka Ho – the image  falls in the “people and space” and was shot at Quarry Bay in Hong Kong. What drew me in was the different perspective of stargazing in a city. Tell us which images captivated you the most in the comments section. And if you would like to feast your eyes on some more fantastic photographs, take a look at the winning images of the Royal Photographic Society’s Scientific Imaging Awards 2016 taken by photographer Spike Walker.

Most of us know how useful it is when a teacher goes out of their way to engage their students and pique their interest in the subject at hand by getting the class involved, rather than just sitting through a lecture. But Timothy Koeth, an associate research professor and director of nuclear reactor and radiation facilities at the University of Maryland’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering is taking this to another level as he is building a particle accelerator – a cyclotron to be precise – with his students. Koeth secured a government grant of $2000 for the project and it will hopefully be built in the next few years. Read all about the project over at the Washington Post site.

Sam Illingworth, who is a senior lecturer in Science Communication at Manchester Metropolitan University, is also a poet. Over at his blog The Poetry of Science, Illingworth waxes lyrical about everything from cell-division to Mars. He has just penned a new “kyrielle“, titled “Unknown Pleasures”, based on the cover artwork for Joy Division’s 1979 by the same name.  The cover image itself is a stacked plot of the radio signals from the first observed pulsar – CP1919. Do read his poem and tell us what you think.

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