Our teacher training program HOYS-LCO3 is slowly coming to an end. This year 16 teachers with almost 300 pupils from 7 countries signed up to learn how to observe with the LCO telescope network, the science of HOYS and doing some small research projects with our data. Like last year, we did run a picture competition. Participating pupils were tasked to create colour images of HOYS targets taken with the 0.4m LCO telescope network either by themselves or other participants in the project. This was to be accompanied by a short descriptive text about the image.

It was good to see that so many pupils took part. Our team of HOYS advisors voted on all the entries and selected three winners and one special price. Each of them receives one hour of observing time at the 0.4m LCO telescope network to observe anything they like. We hope to report on the results of these at a later stage. Well done everyone! Congratulations!

Special Prize (tactile image for student who is blind):

Alaula Sprecher (Teacher: Jacqueline Barge), Walter Payton College Prep High School, Chicago, Illinois, US

For details on tactile images, please follow this link.

Pupil Prizes:

Harshwardhan Pathak (Teacher: Amritanshu Vajpayee), Ignited Minds VIPNET Club (VP-UP0103), India

Joshua Macklin (Teacher: Jacqueline Barge), Walter Payton College Prep High School, Chicago, Illinois, US

Beatrix Biagini. (Teacher: Gabriela Roch), The Langton Grammar School for Boys, Canterbury, UK

Individual winning contributions:

Please click on the images to enlarge them.

Alaula Sprecher:


Caption: These are two representations of an image of NGC-2244, an open star cluster in the Rosette Nebula. The original images were taken in infrared, then made into tactile, raised-line graphics so I, as someone who is blind, can study them. As I touched them, I noticed a prominent feature in the center of the images. I pointed this feature out and with assistance, these images were changed to show this particular feature.
The Rosette nebula is an area where many stars are constantly being born, so it is dense with lots of gas and dust and it emits high amounts of light and energy. I was curious about the brightest of the stars within the clouds of gas and dust, so I chose to use the infrared images as infrared would show only the objects and all but the densest areas of gas and dust. The feature I noticed when feeling the original images was a bright star cluster at the center of NGC-2244. This image shows the brightest of the stars in NGC-2244 and specifically the brightest stars in the center. One image is the photo itself (left) and the other (right) is a photo of the tactile version of the image I used.

Harshwardhan Pathak:

Caption: NGC 1976 (Messier-42/The Orion Nebula) is a diffuse nebula in the Constellation Orion. This unique combination of star cluster and nebula is one of the most sought-after objects of the night sky. Studies about this stellar nursery have revealed about process of star formation from collapsing dust & gas clouds. The Kleinmann–Low Nebula at the heart of the Orion Nebula, observed primarily in infrared, is the most active star-forming region within. In a nutshell, the Orion Nebula has remained observer’s as well as scholars’ delight since ages. So, it becomes a potential target to explore both aesthetically as well as photometrically using the Robotic Telescope facility of LCO (here, 0.4m telescope at Siding Spring Observatory Australia).

Joshua Macklin:

Caption: This image is a thermal colored messier 78. It was discovered by Pierre Mechain in 1780. It can also be called NGC 2068. It is quite dim from earth as its apparent magnitude is 8. It is 1,350 light years away from the earth. This type of nebula is a reflective nebula because its stars are mixed with space dust. It is very deceiving though, because it looks like a comet, like it is filled with comets. It is near Orion in the north.
This picture is significant because there is a deep dark blue area in the bottom right and some bright gas in the center right. I think these look really wonderful. Unlike the original image, the stars are brighter, and I love shining stars. The filter I use blocks out the green colormap I started with and replaces it with red and blue, making some parts purple.

Beatrix Biagini:

Caption: My image is of the Orion nebula M42, the middle element of Orion’s ‘Sword’, part of the Milky Way. It is the nearest large star-forming mass to earth, visible with the naked eye and, possibly because of this, one of the most studied, from early astronomers to the present day. For me, this gives a sense of history to my image and it is very easy to put myself in the shoes of early tribes who likened the luminescent nebula to the cosmic fire of creation. The way the nebula looks like it has exploded is suggestive of the cycle of death and rebirth. When I look into this photo, I imagine how the ancient universe stars died and from their gases sprang new stars and a host of elements that solidified into earth and began life. My image is formed from a number of stacked photographs from which I was able to show the brightness but also a palette of the varied colours associated with this nebula – the familiar pink hydrogen, the blue radiation and the green hue which was originally thought to be a new element, nebulium, but is actually a rare ion of oxygen.