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Local astrophotographer features in new exhibition

The Royal Observatory Greenwich’s hugely popular Astronomy Photographer of the Year is now on show at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, celebrating the very best in astrophotography from around the world.

Run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020competition received over 5,200 spectacular images from enthusiastic amateurs and professional photographers, taken from 70 countries spanning the globe.

The winning images were chosen by an expert judging panel, including renowned comedian and keen amateur astronomer Jon Culshaw; Art Editor of BBC Sky at Night Magazine Steve Marsh and a host of experts from the worlds of art and astronomy.

Among the winners from across the world, was Jodrell Bank local and Holmes Chapel resident Alexandra Hart who earned first place in the category Our Sun for her incredible image entitled ‘Liquid Sunshine’.

Alexandra, who also happens to work for The University of Manchester, describes her photograph: ‘Solar minimum may be seen as a quiet Sun and deemed dull in white light, but if you look closely at the small-scale structure, it is alive with motion. I took a quiet moment to reflect on the beauty of this magical liquid gold expanse. The surface is about 100 kilometres thick and the ever-boiling motion of these convection cells circulate, lasting for around 15 to 20 minutes. They are around 1,000 kilometres in size and create a beautiful “crazy paving” structure for us to enjoy.’

Visitors can see the outstanding 31 winners, runners-up and highly commended images including Alexandra’s Liquid Sunshine in the exhibition at Jodrell Bank. The display is split across two parts of the site, including along a new outdoor Exhibition Pathway, created with support from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund, and an indoor display in the Centre’s events space.

Alexandra continues: ‘As a local girl I was inspired by Jodrell Bank from a very young age to be interested in astronomy and science, every school summer holiday was spent visiting. I used to sit and dream in the planetarium there, and this connection led to my eventual career in cancer research at the University of Manchester and my passion for amateur astronomy. Back then I would never have imagined that one day one of my images of the Sun would be displayed at this great place, it is such an honour.’

Winners and shortlisted entries also feature in the competition’s official book by Collins, available to purchase in the Jodrell Bank Gift Shop, along with prints and postcards of the exhibited images.


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