Galleries

Our pick of the best astro images sent in by you over the past year
  Each month at BBC Sky at Night Magazine we receive a multitude of impressive astrophotos from astronomers and photographers around the world, and select the best for our monthly Hotshots gallery.   Here we present the 12 top astro images from 2018, in all their glory.   Thanks to everyone who sent in their images this year. If you would like to submit your most recent and favourite astrophotos for the chance to appear in the mag, you can do so via our online gallery..         January       Small Magellanic Cloud & 47 Tucanae   Michael Sidoni, Canberra, Australia, 5 November 2017   Equipment: FLI ProLine PL16803 CCD camera, Takahashi FSQ106EDX4 refractor, Starlight Xpress Lodestar Autoguider       February       NGC 1333   Didier Rediger-Lizlov, David Attié, Stefan Shramm, e-Eye remote telescope hosting service, Fregenal de la Sierra, Spain, 25 - 30 October 2017   Equipment: Altair 130 ED Triplet apo refractor, GSO 8-inch Dobsonian, 2 x Moravian Instruments G2-4000 CCD cameras, Astro-Physics 900 GTO German Equatorial Mount       March       The Triangulum Galaxy   Alec Alden, Colchester, 17, 18, 24, 25 November 2017   Equipment: Atik 383L+ mono CCD camera and Sky-Watcher Evostar 80ED refractor, ASI1600MM mono camera and Sky-Watcher 120ED Equinox refractor       April       The Jellyfish Nebula   Martin Baker, 25 November 2017 & 18 January 2018, Berkshire   Equipment: Trius SX694 CCD camera, William Optics Megrez 72mm doublet apo refractor, Sky-Watcher NEQ6 Pro SynScan mount.       May       Comet C/2016 R2 (PANSTARRS) & the Pleiades   José J. Chambó, New Mexico, US, 4 February 2018   Equipment used: SBIG STL11000M CCD camera, Takahashi FSQ-106ED refractor.       June       NGC 2264   Ian J Crichton, Dalgety Bay, 9 February 2018   Equipment: Canon EOS 70D DSLR camera, TS-Optics Imaging Star 130mm apo refractor, Sky-Watcher NEQ6 Pro SynScan mount.       July       Star trails at La Silla   Zdenek Bardon, La Silla Observatory, Chile, 14 March 2018   Equipment: Nikon D810A DSLR camera, Zeiss Milvus 2.8/18 lens.       August       Centaurus A   Fernando Oliveira De Menezes, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 18 May 2018   Equipment: QHY16200A monochrome CCD camera, Sky-Watcher Esprit 150 ED triplet refractor       September       The Milky Way   Guillaume Doyen, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Chile, 13 June 2018   Equipment: Canon EOS 700D DSLR camera, Sigma Art 18-35mm lens, Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Mini mount.       October       The North America Nebula   Reza Hakimi, Moomej, Iran, 10, 11 July 2018   Equipment: ZWO ASI1600MM-C camera, Canon EF 200mm f/2.8 lens       November       IC1396   Adam Shewan, York, August 2017, August 2018   Equipment: Atik 460EX mono CCD camera, Sky-Watcher HEQ5 Pro mount, Samyang 135mm f/2 lens, Ha, SII, OIII filters.       December       Pickering's Triangle   Jean M Dean, Guernsey, 23 July - 7 August 2018   Equipment: Starlight Xpress Trius mono CCD camera, Takahashi FSQ-106 refractor, Sky-Watcher AZ EQ6-GT mount      
Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition 2018
  We present the winners of the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2018 competition.     IIAPY is the world's premier astrophotography competition, each year welcoming thousands of entries from astrophotographers across the globe.   2018 saw over 4,200 entries from 911 photographers, including 186 images from young photographers aged 15 and under.   Find out who won the overall prize this year - plus the winners of each category - in our gallery below. Plus, pick up a copy of the November issue of BBC Sky at Night Magazine to see the 2018 runner-up and highly commended images.   The winning images are available to view in an exhibition at the National Maritime Museum from 24 October 2018 - 5 May 2019.       Overall winner (Category: People & Space)   Transport the Soul, by Brad Goldpaint (US)   Moab, Utah, USA, 20 May 2017   Equipment: Nikon D810 DLSR camera, 14mm f/4.0 lens.       Aurorae   Speeding on the Aurora Lane, by Nicolas Lefaudeux (France)   Sirkka, Finland, 30 March 2017   Equipment: Sony ILCE-7S2 camera, 20mm f/1.4 lens.         Galaxies   NGC 3521, Mysterious Galaxy, by Steve Mohr (Australia)   Carrapooee, Victoria, Australia, 13 February 2018   Equipment: CDK 12.5-inch astrograph, Astro-Physics 900GTO mount, Baader 2,541mm f/8 lens.       Our Moon   Inverted Colours of the Boundary Between Mare Serenitatis and Mare Tranquillitatis, by Jordi Delpeix Borrell (Spain)   L’Ametlla del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain, 6 December 2017   Equipment: ZWO ASI224MC camera, Celestron EdgeHD 14 Schmidt-Cassegrain, Sky-Watcher NEQ6 Pro mount, 4,200mm f/12 lens.       Our Sun   Sun King, Little King and God of War, by Nicolas Lefaudeux (France)   Unity, Oregon, US, 21 August 2017   Equipment: Nikon D810 DSLR camera, Nikkor 105mm f/1.4 AF-S ED lens.       Stars & Nebulae     Corona Australis Dust Complex, by Mario Cogo (Italy)   Tivoli Southern Sky Guest Farm, Namibia, 18 August 2017   Equipment: Canon EOS 6D cooling CDS modified DSLR camera, Takahashi FSQ-106 ED refractor, Astro-Physics 1200GTO mount, 530mm f/5 lens.       Planets, Comets & Asteroids   The Grace of Venus, by Martin Lewis (UK)   St Albans, Hertfordshire, UK, 15 March 2017   Equipment: ZWO ASI174MM camera, home-made 444mm (17.5-inch) Dobsonian, home-made equatorial tracking platform, Astronomik 807nm IR filter, f/28 lens.         Skyscapes   Circumpolar, by Ferenc Szémár (Hungary)   Galyatetö, Hungary, 17 February 2018   Equipment: Sony SLT-A99V DSLR camera, Minolta 80-200 135mm f/2.8 lens.       Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year   Great Autumn Morning, by Fabian Dalpiaz (aged 15, Italy)   Alpe di Siusi, Dolomites, South Tyrol, Italy, 16 October 2017   Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR camera, 50mm panorama f/2 lens.       Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer   Galaxy Curtain Call Performance, by Tianhong Li (China)   Ming’antu, China, 23 September 2017   Equipment: Nikon D810A DSLR camera, 35mm f/2 lens.       Robotic Scope   Two Comets with the Pleiades, by Damian Peach (UK)   Remote Astronomical Society Observatory, Mayhill, New Mexico, US, 19 September 2017   Equipment: SBIG STL11000M CCD camera, Takahashi FSQ-106 ED refractor, Paramount ME mount, 530mm f/5 lens.    
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly's images from the International Space Station
  On 2 March 2016 NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Korniyenko landed back on Earth after a year spent living and working on the International Space Station.   The purpose of this 'One-Year Mission' was to test the psychological and physical effects on the human body of a year in zero gravity.   Along the way Kelly managed to capture a wealth of photos of both life onboard the ISS and the cosmos just outside his space station window.   His new book Infinite Wonder: An Astronaut's Photographs from a Year in Space is a collection of images revealing the story behind this 342-day journey in Earth orbit.   Below is a selection of some of the incredible photos taken during Kelly's year in space.   Infinite Wonder is published in the UK by Doubleday. Images used with permission.     An image captured by Kelly of the Milky Way and Earth's fragile atmosphere.       My first flight into space was aboard the space shuttle Discovery in December 1999 on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.   There are many things about a first space flight that are surprising: the adrenaline rush of the launch countdown, the roar of the main engines, and the sheer power of the solid rocket motors as they explode with millions of pounds of instantaneous thrust.   These all pale, however, in comparison to the beautiful views of the Earth.   After our eight-and-a-half-minute ride into orbit I glanced outside and saw something on the horizon that seemed completely surreal.   I turned to the commander of the mission, Curt Brown, and asked excitedly, “What the hell is that?” Curt, on his sixth flight into space, replied nonchalantly, “Oh, that’s the sunrise.” I was awestruck.   Later, I would admire the luminescent waters of the ocean, as if someone had taken the most brilliant blue paint and brushed it across a mirror right in front of my eyes.   The bright reds, oranges, and yellows of the deserts were often juxtaposed against the blues of the adjacent waters.   The majestic mountain ranges on the horizon seemingly reached out to touch space. It was clear I would never see something more beautiful than the Earth.   My first flight into space was only eight days. I would have to wait nearly eight years to experience the Earth from space again.   But it wasn’t until my third flight into space in 2010, a long-duration flight to the International Space Station (ISS), launching aboard a Russian Soyuz, that I had the time to fully appreciate my vantage point high above the planet.   On this mission I honed some of the skills that would allow me to capture images of the Earth that I would enhance to emphasize their beauty.   - Scott Kelly         A Year in Space in pictures:   On the day I had my first video conference with my daughter Charlotte, I took this picture of the Bahamas for her. The expansiveness of the blues and greens makes the Bahamas the most easily recognizable place to see from space, as well as one of the most beautiful.     Getting together in Node 1 to watch the launch of the SpaceX resupply rocket on a laptop streaming live from the ground. (ESA astronaut) Samantha Cristoforetti (pictured here left of Kelly) will grab the capsule a few days later from the U.S. cupola module.     Fresh fruit is always a welcome treat after a visit from one of our resupply ships.     Waving for the camera on my third and final space walk. I enjoyed the challenge, but I was happy to have them done.     Sometimes, the atmosphere, she glows.     In the cupola, over the Bahamas. With the growing trend of feet photos on Instagram, I decided to turn myself so my feet were pointing toward Earth as I snapped this photo to share my unique point of view from our “glass bottom boat” in space.     From the cupola, I caught a fish-eye view of the aurora looking like a green-and-red aircraft contrail.     The setting Sun peeks through the solar arrays of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.     Being pulled out of the Soyuz by the Russian rescue forces after a year in space.    
Our pick of some of the 'blood Moon' images sent in by readers
    A total lunar eclipse - or 'blood Moon' - was visible to observers across much of Earth on 27 July 2018.   This celestial event occurs when Earth is positioned between the Sun and the Moon and sunlight passes through Earth's atmosphere.   This causes the light to be refracted so that the red portion of the spectrum is reflected onto the surface of the Moon creating a rusty red hue.   While much of the UK was covered in cloud for the event, many readers around the world sent in their images of the eclipse.   Below is our pick of some of the best astro images of the lunar eclipse sent in by you.           Zdenek Bardon   Sumava mountain, Czech Republic   Nikon D810A, Takahashi FSQ106/530, Tripod           Fernando Oliveira De Menezes   Sao Paulo, Brazil   Equipment: ZWO ASI 1600 camera, 150mm triplet refractor           José Manuel Perez Redondo   Spain   Equipment: Canon EOS 50D DSLR camera, Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 lens at 300, f/11, ISO 3200, 4"           Peter Louer   Tenerife, Spain   Equipment: Canon EOS 700D DSLR camera, Canon 55-250mm lens, ISO 3200, 0.6"           José J. Chambó   Xativa Castle, Valencia, Spain   Equipment: Canon EOS 100D DSLR camera, Tamron AF 70-300mm lens           Mario Richter   Finsterwalde, Germany   Equipment: Canon EOS 450D DSLR camera, Takahashi TSA refractor, Sky-Watcher EQ6 Pro mount, ISO 200, 10"           Houssem Ksontini   Tunisia   Equipment: Nikon D5300 DSLR camera, Sky-Watcher 150/750 Newtonian, Sky-Watcher NEQ3-2 mount             Chris Pomeroy   Cyprus   Equipment: Sony a7III camera, Sigma 150-600mm lens           Andre van der Hoeven   Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht, The Netherlands   Equipment: Nikon D5100 DSLR camera, Astro-Tech TMB-92 apo refractor             Chee Guan Chan   Singapore   Equipment: Sony A7s camera, Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 lens, Photoshop        
A first look at this year's astrophotography competition
  The Royal Observatory Greenwich has released a selection of shortlisted images from this year's Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year Award.   The international astrophotography award is held annually, and the 2018 winners will be announced at a special ceremony at the Royal Observatory on 23 October 2018.   Until then, here is a selection of some of the incredible images that impressed this year's panel of judges.         A Magnificent Saturn   Avani Soares (Brazil)     Canoas, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, 29 July 2017   Equipment: Celestron C14HD Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, Powermate 2X + Filter Baader UV-IR cut Celestron CGE Pro mount, ZWO ASI 290 MC camera, 7820 mm f/22 lens, stacked from 4000 frames         Andromeda Galaxy   Péter Feltóti (Hungary)     Mezőfalva, Hungary, 20 October 2017   Equipment: SkyWatcher 200/800 Newton astrograph telescope, SkyWatcher NEQ6 pro mount, Canon EOS 600D camera (modded), 800 mm f/4 lens, ISO 800, 3.79-second exposure         AR 2665 and Quiescent Prominence   Łukasz Sujka (Poland)     Budy Dlutowskie, Poland, 9 July 2017   Equipment: TS Individual 102/1100 telescope, etalon from Lunt50ThaPT+B1200+BelOptik ERF+TV barlow x2, Sky-Watcher NEQ6 Pro mount, ZWO ASI 178 MM-C camera, 1100mm f/11 lens, 10ms exposure         Aurora Borealis on the coast of the Barents sea   Michael Zav'yalov (Russia)     Murmansk/Teriberka, Russia, 28 February 2017   Equipment: Nikon D750 camera, 20mm f/4 lens, ISO 2000, 30/1 exposure         Aurorascape   Mikkel Beiter (Denmark)     Haukland Beach, Norway, 26 February 2018   Equipment: Canon EOS 5DS R camera, 17mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 2000, 8-second exposure         Cable Bay   Mark Gee (Australia)     Nelson, New Zealand, 12 August 2017   Equipment: Canon EOS 6D Mark II camera, 24mm f/4 lens, ISO 6400, 42 x 30-seconds exposure         Cave Man   Brandon Yoshizawa (USA)       Malibu, USA, 28 March 2017   Equipment: Nikon D750 camera, 14mm f/4 lens, ISO 1600, 119/1 exposure         Color-Full Moon   Nicolas Lefaudeux (France)       Paris, France, 3 January 2018   Equipment: SkyWatcher Black Diamond 100mm apochromatic refractor telescope, 1800mm f/18 lens, Vixen GP2 equatorial mount, Sony ILCE-7S2 camera, 25 images of 1/100s exposure         Daytime Moon   Helen Schofield (UK)       Malaga, Spain, 1 August 2017   Equipment: Panasonic DMC-FZ72 camera, 215mm f/5.9 lens, ISO 100, 1/160 exposure         Deep Space   Dave Brosha (Canada)       Vatnajökull, Iceland, 5 February 2018   Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV camera, 14mm f/2.5 lens, ISO 3200, 30/1 exposure         Earth Shine   Peter Ward (Australia)       Jackson Hole, USA, 21 August 2017   Equipment: Takahashi FSQ85  telescope, Losmandy Starlapse mount, Canon 5D Mark IV camera, 9 exposures ranging from ISO 100 to 900, 2 seconds  through to 1/4000th exposures         Empyreal   Paul Wilson (USA)       Te Oka, New Zealand, 23 April 2017   Equipment: Canon 6D camera, 50mm f/1.8 lens, ISO-6400, 64x10-seconds exposure         Expedition to Infinity   Jingpeng Liu (China)       Badlands National Park, USA, 24 June 2017   Equipment: Canon EOS 6D camera, 24mm f/2 lens, ISO 4000, 120-seconds exposure         First Impressions   Casper Kentish (UK)       Ponthirwaun Ceredigion, UK, 23 January 2018   Equipment: Skywatcher skyliner 200 P telescope, SkyWatcher 25mm wide angle, Dobsonian mount, Apple iPad 5th gen., 3.3mm f/2.4 lens, ISO 250, 1/17-second exposure         Guardian of Tre Cime   Carlos F. Turienzo (Spain)       Tre Cime, Italy, 25 June 2017   Equipment: Nikon D750 camera, 14mm f/3.3 lens, ISO 3200, 8x20-seconds exposure         Guarding the galaxy   Jez Hughes (UK)       Bishop, USA, 19 June 2017   Equipment: Sony ILCE-7RM2 camera, 24mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 3200, sky: 20-second exposure, tree light painting: 8-second exposure          Holding Due North   Jake Mosher (USA)       Choteau, MT, USA, 23 November 2017   Equipment: Nikon D810 camera, 20mm f/4 lens, ISO 1600, multiple 40-second exposures         Holy Light II   Mikkel Beiter (Denmark)       Búdir, Iceland, 23 November 2017   Equipment: Canon EOS 5d Mark IV camera, 16mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 3200, 10-second exposure         Ice Castle   Arild Heitmann (Norway)     Abisko, Sweden, 18 February 2018    Equipment: Sony A7S2 camera, 14mm f/2.5 lens, ISO 2500, 10-second exposure         ISS sunspots (clip)   Dani Caxete (Fernández Méndez) (Spain)       Madrid, Spain, 5 September 2017   Equipment: Long Perng ED 80 telescope, barlow x2, Herschel Prism, SkyWatcher Allview mount, Nikon D610 camera, 1100mm f/12 lens, ISO 1000, 1/4000 exposure         Keeper of the Light   James Stone (Australia)       Bruny Island, Tasmania, Australia, 21 July 2017   Equipment: Nikon D750 camera, 15mm f/3.2 lens, ISO 6400, 15-second exposure         Kynance cove by night   Ainsley Bennett (UK)       Kynance Cove, Cornwall, UK, 3 May 2017   Equipment: Nikon D810 camera, 35mm sky: f/2.2 foreground: f/3.2, ISO sky: 4000 foreground: 1600, sky: 13-seconds foreground: 310-seconds exposure         Magic   Jingyi Zhang (Australia)       Stokksnes, Iceland, 16 February 2018   Equipment: Canon 5D mark III camera, 16mm f/1.6 lens, ISO 10000, 6/1 exposure         Milky Way shining over Atashkooh   Masoud Ghadiri (Iran)       Mahallat, Iran, 2 May 2017   Equipment: Nikon D810 camera, 15mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 3200, 29/1 exposure         Mosaic of the Great Orion & Running Man Nebula   Miguel Angel García Borrella and Lluis Romero Ventura (Spain)       Àger, Monfragüe, Spain, 2 January2017   Equipment: Astrodon LRGB Gen2 I-Series True-Balance telescope, Astrodon LRGB Gen2 I-Series True-Balance, Titan 50 Losmandy & ASA DDM85 mount, SBIG & Moravian STL 11000 C2 & G3-11002 camera, 2720mm and 2840mm f/6.8 and f/8 lens, 42 hours exposure          NGC 6726 and NGC 6727   Mark Hanson, Warren Keller, Steve Mazlin, Rex Parker, Tommy Tse, David Plesko, Pete Proulx (USA)       La Serena, Chile, 30 June 2017   Equipment: RCOS  16" research telescope, PlaneWave Ascension mount, FLI PL 16803 camera, 4,500mm f/11.3 lens, 180,000 seconds 1,800s x ~100 exposures L,R,G,B = ~50 hours total exposure         Rigel and the Witch Head Nebula   Mario Cogo (Italy)       Tivoli Southern Sky Guest Farm, Namibia, 20 August 2017   Equipment: Takahashi FSQ 106 ED telescope, Astro-Physics 1200 GTO mount, Canon EOS 6D Cooling CDS Mod camera, 385mm f/3.6 lens, ISO 1600,  1, 3 and 6 mins total 5 hours exposure         Stars over Sacred Mongolian Ovoo   Qiqige Zhao (China)       Mingantu, Inner Mongolia, China, 11 August 2017   Equipment: Nubia Z11 camera, 4mm f/2 lens, ISO 3200, multiple 10-second exposures         The Eagle nebula   Marcel Drechsler (Germany)       Baerenstein, Germany, 9 August 2017   Equipment: Celestron RASA telescope, Baader narrow band filters, Celestron CGEpro mount, ZWO Asi1600mmc camera, 620mm f/2.2 lens, ISO 139, 10.5 hours exposure         The Hidden Galaxy   Tom O'Donoghue, Olly Penrice (Republic of Ireland)       Etoile St Cyrice, France, 18 December2017   Equipment: Tec140 telescope, Tech140, Mesu 200 mount, Atik 460ex camera, 1000mm f/7 lens, 24 hours in 600s subs         The neglected neighbour   Kfir Simon (Israel)       Tivoli Southern Sky Guest Farm, Namibia, 4 January 2018   Equipment: 16" Hypergraph F8 telescope, ASA DDM85 mount, FLI Proline PL16803, 3250mm f/4.5 (406mm aperture) lens, LRGB image Lum 120min Bin 1 RGB 20 min each Bin2         The Orion Nebula in 6-Filter Narrowband   Bernard Miller (USA)       Animas, NM, USA, 25 December 2017   Equipment: Planewave CDK-17 telescope, Paramount ME mount, FLI PL16803 camera, 2940mm f/6.8 lens, 18x30 minutes Ha, 18x30 minutes SII, 18x30 minutes OIII, 12x15 minutes Red, 12x15 minutes Green, 12x15 minutes Blue, 16x30 seconds RGB exposures         Thunderstorm under Milky Way   Tianyuan Xiao (China)       Perry, USA, 21 August 2017   Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera, 25mm f/3.2 lens, 30/1 exposure       
View our gallery of beautiful planispheres through the ages
  Despite the leaps and bounds in stargazing smartphone apps and astronomy tech, planispheres remain one of the amateur astronomer’s most reliable tools.   Author and planisphere collector Peter Grimwood presents a history of these night-sky navigators in pictures, with a selection of examples taken from the 200 that make up his new book Card Planispheres: A Collector’s Guide.         A planisphere is a map of part of the celestial sphere that can be adjusted to match the positions of the stars in the night sky for a particular time and location.   Initially developed around 200 BC as the metallic ‘planispheric astrolabe’, the modern-day planisphere is usually made of card or plastic discs with a rotating oval 'horizon' to reveal the stars visible overhead.   You simply turn the top rotating disc to match the direction you’re facing with the current date and - lo and behold - you get a map of the constellations and asterisms in the sky above.   The basic idea has been around for centuries and, depending who you believe, was invented by Eudoxus of Cnidus (a Greek mathematician),  Hypatia (a Greek astronomer) or Vitruvius (a Roman architect and engineer).   Here's a selection of some of my personal favourites, showing how this simple but effective design has been adopted for astronomers in different regions of the world.   (All images are copyright Peter Grimwood)             A big one from the USA at around 15.5 inches square, this one was made in 1866 by Henry Whitall. He made both round and square planispheres with either stars on a dark blue background, or (like this one) a background featuring the mythical constellation figures.             This one is Argentinean and printed in Spanish. It has a southern hemisphere starmap on one side (aperture for 35oS for Buenos Aires) and a Northern Hemisphere starmap on the other (45oN for Madrid). It dates from around 1960.             A Swiss "Zodiac" planisphere made in 1946. Also double sided, but this time both sides are for the northern hemisphere. One is the view to the north, the other the view to the south. This is clever way of reducing the distortion of the constellations being projected on a flat sheet.             The 1985/6 return of Halley's comet was only really visible in the southern hemisphere, and here is a planisphere that includes the track of the comet with dates overprinted on the star field. It was printed by Astroprom Australia Pty Ltd.             Here’s another big one from the US. Hammond’s Improved Planisphere is 16 inches square and was produced around 1925. It has the unusual feature of a horizon aperture that can be adjusted for a range of latitudes.              Printed in 1837 by London globe and map makers George and John Cary, this 15-inch square planisphere has both a rotating starmap and a rotating horizon aperture.             Horizon apertures vary according to the latitude of the observer. This 1925 planisphere produced in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) has the semicircular cut-out needed for use on the equator.             The UK-based company of George Philip and Sons produced this combination planisphere and orrery in 1914. Rather basic, the two arms had movable buttons to show the position of the Sun and one other planet.             Showing the nearly circular horizon aperture for 65oN, this planisphere is designed for use in Sweden, Norway and Finland.             Virtually unchanged in design from 1906 to 1960, this 15-inch square 'Star and Planet Finder' has a thick starmap that is designed to have a set of planet pins stuck into the plane of the ecliptic, their positions given by planet tables supplied with the planisphere.      
Our pick of the best auroral astrophotos sent in by you
  Aurorae are some of the most spectacular astronomical phenomenon, and make for incredible astrophotos.   The beautiful wisps of colour seen in an auroral display are the result of energetic particles emitted by the Sun generating reactions in the upper atmosphere of Earth, and indeed other planets. This releases photons of light, creating magnificent colourful light shows.   Below we’ve selected some of the best auroral images sent in by readers over the past few years.   If you manage to capture aurora, upload your image to our Hotshots gallery and it could appear in BBC Sky at Night Magazine!         Richard Jenkinson   Nellim, Finland, 2 March 2017   Equipment: Sony A77V, 14mm lens.   Richard says: “We had a real treat of colours; green, pink and white at one stage. This continued for well over an hour, and at one point nearly the whole sky was covered and even turned the snow green. The bright light to the left of the display is the planet Venus.”   Credit: Richard Jenkinson         Jim Bray   Pixieland star party, Goldendale, Washington, US, 28 May 2017   Equipment: Canon EOS Rebel T3 DSLR camera, 50mm lens.   Jim says: “This was my second night at the star party after waiting out the day's heat, clouds and wind. We were waiting out the last of the sunset and twilight and some were wondering why the sky to the north had so much light pollution. One imager looked at a picture taken with his DSLR and noticed that the light was green and had contrast and vertical spikes in it, and called out that this was an aurora!”   Credit: Jim Bray         Andrew Walker   Durness, UK, 6 March 2016   Equipment: Canon EOS 70D DSLR camera, Sigma 15-30mm lens, tripod   Andrew says: “I knew the aurora was forecast to be strong on this evening but forecasts rarely come to fruition. However on this occasion it did, big time. In fact the corona was directly over my house!”   Credit: Andrew Walker         Gill Williams   Ylläs, Finland, 19 January 2018   Gill says: “I took these way up in the Arctic Circle, where I was treated to the display of a lifetime, despite having received no real alerts.”   Equipment: Canon EOS 6D DSLR camera, Samyang 14mm lens.   Credit: Gill Williams         Jerry Porsbjer   Moskosel, Sweden, 4 October 2016   Equipment: Nikon D3s, AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm lens.   Jerry says: “I was sitting in my editing studio working on pics from an evenings’ imaging. Around 5am I finished and went out for an early morning walk. I had been out only a few minutes and I was surprised to see the Northern Lights in the sky. I turned back home, grabbed my camera and went down to the lake behind our house to capture the spectacle.”   Credit: Jerry Porsbjer         Olli Reijonen   Asikkala, Finland, 18 August 2015   Equipment: Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera, Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7.   Olli says: “I was at our summer cottage at Lake Päijänne and I wanted to photograph the last noctilucent clouds of the season at midnight. There was some light action in the northern horizon so I took the camera and, to my surprise, also managed to capture aurora and Perseids.”   Credit: Olli Reijonen         Mike Morely, Abisko, Sweden, 19 January 2015    Mike says: “We were lucky enough to get married in northern Sweden and went back for our tenth anniversary in January 2015. We took an open chair lift up 900m to view the aurora from an open mountaintop and only had one night to chance seeing anything. It felt like we were right inside the aurora. I spotted these two tourists and thought they would make a good scale against the lights so I moved and repositioned my tripod.”   Equipment: Canon EOS 6D DSLR camera, 24-70   Credit: Mike Morely         Mariusz Szymaszek   Garðskagi lighthouse, Iceland, 2 February 2016   Equipment: Sony A7S camera, Samyang 14mmlens   Mariusz says: “I took this photo on a trip to lovely Iceland to see the Northern Lights for the first time. The night I took this photo was the last one on my trip, and I wanted to catch the magic of that place with green aurora at the background. I also wanted to keep the light beams as narrow as possible to make it more interesting.“   Credit: Mariusz Szymaszek       Gordon Mackie   Achavanich, Caithness, UK, 14 March 2016   Equipment: Canon EOS 760D DSLR camera, Sigma 10-20mm lens.   I had planned taking these photos for some time, working out that the light from the first quarter Moon around this time of year would provide just the right angle and level of lighting to gently illuminate the foreground stones. As a bonus the aurora made an appearance just as I arrived to set up to do some photography, so my timing could hardly have worked out better.”   Credit: Gordon Mackie       Alison Bossaert   Kielder, UK, 6 March 2016   Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR camera, Sigma 12-24mm lens.   Alison says: “We were at the Kielder star camp and someone noticed the aurora so we rushed up to Elf Kirk Viewpoint with our cameras. I got lucky with this shot as a shooting star or Iridium flare found its way into this one.”   Credit: Alison Bossaert    
  Each month in BBC Sky at Night Magazine we present our favourite images captured by the world's biggest and most hardworking telescopes for our Eye On The Sky image gallery.   Here we present a month-by-month selection of the most amazing astrophotos that made our monthly galleries in 2017.     Raising the bar     A new vista of Orion   ESO VISTA telescope, 4 January 2017   The Orion A molecular cloud is a massive star-forming region about 1,350 lightyears away, making it the closest stellar factory to our planet. This image is the most detailed near-infrared image of the region ever taken. It shows the entirety of Orion A, which stretches for about 8° south of the ‘sword’ of the Orion constellation.   The region is an incredibly active region with ongoing star formation being triggered by the death of previous generations of stars. This happens when older stars end their lives in an explosion, causing nearby molecular clouds to collapse and bringing about the formation of new stars to replace them.   VISTA’s infrared capabilities mean it can see beyond the dust that would otherwise obscure optical observations, revealing young, hidden stars to astronomers on Earth.   Credit: ESO/VISION survey     The Cat and the Crustacean      ESO VLT Survey Telescope, 1 February 2017   Just like clouds in the sky over Earth, the cosmic clouds we call nebulae form such intricate, unique shapes that observers cannot help but spot familiar objects in them. The nebula in the top right of this image is NGC 6334, known as the Cat’s Paw Nebula as it forms a trio of clouds that look rather like a feline footprint. Bottom left is NGC 6357, known as the Lobster Nebula with its dusty tendrils reaching out to the edge of the image.   That these two nebulae appear so close together, as though the ‘cat’ were waiting to pounce on its unsuspecting prey, is actually an illusion. In reality the Cat’s Paw is about 5,500 lightyears away from Earth, while the Lobster is 8,000 lightyears away.   Credit: ESO     Stellar spiral     Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, 6 March 2017   From a tiny seashell found on the beach to our own Milky Way, spirals are a common feature in nature. This one is caused by two stars orbiting each other in binary system LL Pegasi. One older star is ejecting gas and dust as it approaches the end of its life, and the spiral shape is carved out as the stars twirl around each other in orbit.   Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/H. Kim et al.     Solar flares     NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory, 11 April 2017   An active region produced several medium sized solar flares over a ten-hour period on 3 April 2017. These were the strongest flares of the year so far. Some coronal mass ejections were also associated with some of these flares, ejecting plasma into space.   NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory was able to capture images of the flares in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light.   Credit: NASA/GSFC/Solar Dynamics Observatory     Close encounters of the galactic kind     Chandra X-ray Observatory, 2 May 2017   The Perseus Galaxy Cluster resides in the Perseus constellation about 240 million lightyears away, and is so huge it would take light about 11 million years to cross it.   At roughly the 7 o’clock position in this image is a curved wave blowing across the cluster, spanning about 200,000 lightyears; roughly twice the size of the Milky Way.   The wave was probably formed billions of years ago as a result of a close encounter between the galaxy cluster and a smaller counterpart.   Credit: NASA/CXC/GSFC/S.A.Walker, et al.     SOHO’s solstice     Solar & Heliospheric Observatory, 21 June 2017   While we on Earth’s northern hemisphere experienced the summer solstice as the longest day of the year, the SOHO space observatory was busy observing the Sun at different ultraviolet wavelengths to produce this image.   From left to right, the brightest parts of the Sun in each image are 60,000–80,000ºC, 1 million, 1.5 million and 2 million respectively.   Credit: SOHO (ESA & NASA)     Phobos Photobomb     Hubble Space Telescope, 20 July 2017   Astronomers were capturing images of Mars when they happened to spot the moon Phobos appearing from behind the Red Planet. 13 separate images taken over 22 minutes reveal the moon’s motion as it orbits Mars, which it does so once every 7 hours and 39 minutes.   Phobos is edging closer to Mars with each orbit, and it is predicted that in 30-50 million years it may eventually smash into the planet.   Credit: NASA, ESA, and Z. Levay (STScI)  Acknowledgment: J. Bell (ASU) and M. Wolff (Space Science Institute)     Starburst     Chandra X-ray Observatory, 10 August 2017   Chandra observations of IC 10,a starburst galaxy, revealed about 110 X-ray sources. Starburst galaxies are galaxies that are producing stars at a fantastic rate; faster than the stellar ingredients can be replenished.   Observations revealed over a dozen black holes and neutron stars feeding off gas from younger, massive stellar companions. These ‘X-ray binaries’ emit large amounts of X-ray light. As a massive star orbits a compact companion such as a black hole or neutron star, material can be pulled away to form a disk of material around the compact object. Frictional forces then heat up this material, producing a bright X-ray source.    Credit X-ray: NASA/CXC/UMass Lowell/S.Laycock et al. Optical: Bill Snyder Astrophotography     Saturn’s shadows     Cassini spacecraft, 13 September 2017   The Cassini mission ended 14 September 2017, as the spacecraft purposely crashed into Saturn's atmosphere. This is one of the last images captured by Cassini, just before its final plunge.   Bright bands of clouds on Saturn disappear into the shadows in this image, which has also managed to capture the hexagonal storm at the planet's north pole. We can clearly see Saturn's rings emerging just beyond the limb on the left edge of the picture.   Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute     Satellites of a gas giant     Juno spacecraft, 6 October 2017   NASA’s Juno spacecraft is currently orbiting Jupiter, sending back data that is helping scientists unlock the secrets of the Gas Giant.   In this image, Jupiter’s limb can be seen top right, while its moons Io (right) and Europa (left) appear dwarfed in comparison. This image was processed by citizen scientist Roman Tkachenko using raw data captured by Juno.   Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Roman Tkachenko     Colliding clusters     Karl G Jansky Very Large Array / NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory, 7 November 2017   Galaxy clusters are some of the most massive objects in the Universe, so naturally create quite a scene when they collide. Abell 2744 is the collective name for one such collision, located 4 billion lightyears away. This collision produced an enormous amount of energy, seen as bright radio emission in red and orange, and purple X-rays caused by extreme heating.   Credit: Pearce et al.; Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF; Chandra, Subaru; ESO.     We are made of star stuff     Chandra X-ray Observatory, 12 December 2017   Many of the elements that make up our bodies and the world around us come from the scorching furnaces of stars. Astronomers study supernova remnants - the remains of exploded stars - to learn more about how stars produce and distribute these elements throughout the Universe.   Cassiopeia A is one of the most studied. Chandra observations revealed the iron in Cas A has the mass of about 70,000 Earths, and detected the ejection of oxygen equivalent to about three times the mass of the Sun.   Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO  
Our pick of the best images sent in by you over the past year
  Each month at BBC Sky at Night Magazine we receive incredible astrophotos from astronomers and photographers across the globe, and select the best for our monthly Hotshots gallery.   Here we present the 12 winning images from 2017, in all their glory.   Thanks to everyone who sent in their images this year. From incredible captures of deep-sky objects, to impromptu nightscapes captured on a smartphone, it's been another fantastic year of astrophotography.   If you would like to submit your most recent and favourite astrophotos for the chance to appear in the mag, you can do so via our online gallery.         January       Moon montage   Sarah and Simon Fisher, Worcestershire, 30 October 2016   Sarah says: “My husband Simon and I were delighted to have consecutive clear nights to image our nearest natural neighbour. The seeing was outstanding, and with UK skies being so changeable (and cloudy) we were ecstatic to be able to have our telescope out four nights on the trot.”   Equipment: Canon EOS 600D DSLR camera, 5-inch Maksutov-Cassegrain.       February       The Triangulum Galaxy   Simon Todd, Haywards Heath, 28 November 2016   Simon says: “I chose M33 as a target because I have always had challenges in the past when attempting to image it. It’s not as bright as some of the other galaxies but there’s a lot of detail in there; you just have to get a decent number of exposures.”   Equipment: Atik 383L+ CCD camera, Sky-Watcher Quattro-8CF imaging Newtonian, Sky-Watcher EQ8 Pro SynScan mount       March       NGC 2264   Chris Heapy, Macclesfield, 29 December 2016   Chris says: “I had imaged this area back in 2014 using a smaller camera, but using the same 5-inch refractor with my new G4-16000 enabled me to capture the surrounding structures at similar resolution, revealing NGC 2259 in the bottom-left corner.”   Equipment: Moravian G4-16000 CCD camera, Televue NP127is apo refractor, 10 Micron GM 2000 HPS II mount.       April       The Rose Galaxy   Mark Large, Colchester, 31 January 2017   Mark says: “I came across an image of this galaxy in a calendar I was given at Christmas and knew straight away I had to get it! Having imaged for some time with a modified DSLR, the first thing you notice is how much more time is required with a CCD. It is well worth it though to get the amount of data required to produce an image like this.”   Equipment: Altair Astro 10-inch Ritchey Chrétien astrograph, QSI 683WSG-C-8 mono CCD camera, Sky-Watcher AZ EQ6-GT mount.       May       The Seagull Nebula   Mariusz Szymaszek, Crawley, West Sussex, 26 February 2017   Mariusz says: “Last winter wasn’t very kind to astrophotographers in southern areas of the UK. With fewer opportunities because of the conditions during those cold winter nights, planning was key. I recently modified my camera and wanted to see if it could register more nebulosity from objects like this. If feel it turned out very well with just one hour of exposure.”   Equipment: Modified Sony α7S camera, Evostar 80ED Pro refractor, Sky-Watcher HEQ5 Pro SynScan mount, Optolong L-PRO MAX Luminosity Filter.       June       Betelgeuse Setting   Amanda Cross, Lancashire, 4 April 2017   Amanda says: “The finished piece is made of single images taken 25 seconds apart, slightly out of focus with a high ISO and a low shutter speed to pick out colour variations. Our atmosphere refracts the star’s light just like a prism splits sunlight. When a star is close to the horizon we are looking at it through a thicker part of the atmosphere, which creates more of the scintillation and flashes of colour that we can see.”   Equipment: Canon EOS 7D Mk II DSLR camera, 300mm lens.       July       Centaurus A   Haim Huli, Namibia, 12 May 2017   Haim says: “At the end of April I travelled for the first time to the southern hemisphere to an astro farm in Namibia. For the first three days after I arrived the sky was full of clouds. At the fourth night I ‘wowed’ when I finally saw the southern dark sky for the first time. My number one planned target was NGC5128, AKA the Centaurus A Galaxy.”   Equipment: FLI MicroLine ML8300 mono CCD camera, ASA 12-inch astrograph, ASA DDM85 mount.       August       Saturn   Avani Soares, Canoas, Brazil, 3 June 2017   Avani says: “Photographing Saturn and the main planets of the Solar System is one of my favorite hobbies. Although there is much to be said for observing Jupiter due to the dynamics of its atmosphere, Saturn is the planet that causes greater visual impact, both in direct observation and in a beautiful astrophoto.”   Equipment: ZWO ASI224MC CMOS camera, Celestron EdgeHD 14 Schmidt-Cassegrain.       September       AR2665   David Searles, Kent, 9 July 2017   David says: “With the Sun getting towards the solar minimum, this shot chose itself rather than being chosen! Working at a focal length of about 5m, achieving good focus is always a big challenge as the daytime seeing can be quite variable.”   Equipment: ZWO ASI120MM-S mono CMOS camera, Celestron CPC 925 XLT Schmidt Cassegrain, 2x Barlow lens, Baader solar film.       October       The Triffid and Lagoon Nebulae   Gábor Szendrői, Kendig, Hungary, 16 July 2017   Gábor says: “Since these nebulae never rise very high in the sky in Hungary, it was necessary to find a dark observation site, preferably one at high altitude to capture the vivid colours and the delicate structure of the nebulae embedded into a rich star field. My father and I decided to return to Kendig, our favourite observation site, 726 metres above sea level.”   Equipment: Modified Canon EOS 700D DSLR camera, GPU 100/635 apochromatic refractor, Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ6 Go-To mount.       November       The Milky Way   Ian Carruthers, County Waterford, Ireland, 23 August 2017   Ian says: “As the best part of the Milky Way season here in Ireland was nearing its end, myself and four photographers took a chance on a not so promising forecast. Three hours drive from Dublin with rain and cloud all the way down. Then we arrived in Waterford and the clouds cleared and the stars began to shine. We were ecstatic!”   Equipment: Nikon D610 DSLR camera, iOptron Skytracker, Samyang 24mm lens.       December       Harvest Moon   Kevin Jackson, Southport, 5 October 2017   Kevin says: “I love taking pictures of the Moon so the full Harvest Moon was extremely appealing. I'm a back garden amateur astrophotographer and find lunar photography a great and easy way of learning basic astrophotography skills.”   Equipment: Altair Hypercam IMX178C, Altair Astro Starwave 102 ED doublet refractor (2017 version), Astro Physics CCDT67 Telecompressor, EQ3-2 mount, Moon filter.      
Our pick of some of the best galactic images sent in by readers
  Every month we receive an array of incredible astro images taken by readers from across the globe, showing what it is possible to achieve today with amateur astronomical and photographic equipment.   Here, we present some of the best galactic images we have received over the past few years. It is incredible to think how relatively little we know about our own Milky Way, then to consider that each of the galaxies below is another system full of suns and planets: perhaps many like Earth.   There could be two trillion galaxies in the Universe, and while all are currently out of physical reach, that doesn't stop astrophotographers from creating incredible images for the rest of us to marvel at.   Whether you're an astrophotographer or simply like snapping pics of the Moon with your smartphone, be sure to share your astro images with us via our online Hotshots gallery.       Andromeda Galaxy     Charles Thody   Pembrokeshire, 8 September 2015   Equipment: Modified Canon EOS 40D DSLR camera, Sky-Watcher Equinox-80 ED apo refractor, Sky-Watcher NEQ6 PRO SynScan mount.       Sculptor Galaxy     Ron Brecher and Brett Soames   New South Wales, Australia, October 2015/February 2016   Equipment used: SBIG STXL-6303E CCD camera, custom-built 6-inch refractor, Paramount ME mount, PixInsight.       Whirlpool Galaxy     David Attie   Abu Dhabi, UAE, 9 April 2016    Equipment: Moravian G2-4000 CCD camera, Celestron C11-A XLT Schmidt-Cassegrain, Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ6 GT mount.       NGC 1097     Warren Keller   Star Shadows Remote Observatory South, Chile, July 2016    Equipment: Apogee Alta U9 CCD camera, RCOS 16-inch Ritchey-Chrétien, PlaneWave Ascension 200HR mount.       Andromeda Galaxy     Chris Heapy   Macclesfield, 6 October 2016   Equipment: Moravian Instruments G4-16000 CCD camera, Tele Vue NP127is refractor.       Triangulum Galaxy     Gary Opitz   Rochester NY, US, 6 October 2016   Equipment: ZWO ASI 1600MC cooled camera, Telescope Engineering Company APO140 ED refractor, Orion Atlas mount.       Pinwheel Galaxy     Mark Griffith   Wiltshire, 20 January 2017   Equipment: Atik 383L+ CCD camera, Teleskop Service 12-inch Ritchey-Chrétien telescope, Sky-Watcher EQ8 Pro equatorial mount.       Leo Triplet     Miroslav Horvat   Petrova Gora, Croatia, 21 April 2017   Equipment: QHY8 Pro CCD camera, Sky-Watcher Explorer-200P reflector, Sky-Watcher NEQ6 Pro SynScan mount.       M81 & M82     Álvaro Ibáñez Pérez   Toledo, Spain, 25 May 2015   Equipment: Atik 460EX mono CCD camera, TS115 triplet apo refractor, NEQ Pro II tuning belts and EQMOD.       Andromeda Galaxy     Mariusz Szymaszek   Crawley, 23 July 2015   Equipment: Pentax K-5 DSLR camera, Sky-Watcher Evostar 80ED DS-Pro refractor, Sky-Watcher HEQ5 Pro GoTo mount.       Sculptor Galaxy     Tom Bishton   Brisbane, Australia, 3 September 2016   Equipment: Canon EOS 600D modded DSLR camera, Sky-Watcher ED120 Pro apo refractor, Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ6 Go-To mount.    
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