Winners of WSC21: Astronomy

The following post list the winners of WSC 2021.

The winning submission of Astronomy category shows us The Jellyfish nebula (IC443), a galactic supernova remnant in the constellation Gemini about 5000 light years from Earth. It was made by Ram Samudrala.

Comment from the author:

Since as far back as I can remember, I’ve been interested in the stars, and some of my earliest memories are of looking up at the skies and asking my elders “why?” as kids tend to do. This is what led to me being a scientist. Since age 7, when I got my first telescope, I’ve been an amateur astronomer. In 1986, when Halley’s Comet was visible, I was 13 and I learned to build my own reflecting telescope at that time, but technology wasn’t good enough for the average person to capture images of what I saw.

I was not a rich student in college so my hobby took a back seat, but once I began my professional career, I started using my disposable income to buy a lot of telescopes and technology finally caught up to enable amateurs to produce amazing images. All this took off in high gear when we moved to rural western New York on Lake Ontario in 2014, which has fairly dark skies. It was a few years of getting progressively better: I was a national finalist in 2019, but in 2020 I was able to produce some of my best images ever, which I submitted to the corresponding Wiki Science Competition.

The Jellyfish nebula (IC443) is the name given to a galactic supernova remnant situated in the constellation Gemini about 5000 light years from Earth. In this image, the remains of a supernova that exploded prior to the dawn of the Julian and Gregorian calendars is coincidentally bookended by two bright stars in the frame. The narrowfield framing (S2, Ha, and O3 elements in red, blue, green) shows the partial shell of supernova remnant with its distinctive Jellyfish shape in the bottom right quadrant interacting with the molecular clouds surrounding it above and to the left, seemingly as though it is striking them with bolts of lightning. The interactions of the remnant with its surroundings all around are what give rise to its eponymous shape.

Professionally, I am currently a computational biology and bioinformatics Professor at the University at Buffalo researching multiscale modelling of macromolecular structure, function, interaction, design, and evolution at multiple scales.

Comment from the jury:

This new category was created to valorise astronomical images, which never get to the first position in the miscellaneous category. The standards of Hubble are very high, but some amateur astrophotographers can get also very good results and it is crucial to praise them. The image is useful for Wikipedia, being the best one of this galactic supernova remnant currently on our archive. Also, the description contains all relevant technical information.


Milky Way at California’s High Desert National Park . Benjamin Inouye from USA.
Planetary nebula Sh2-216/LBN744/PNG158.5+00.7/PK158+00.1 (c-lsho). Ram Samudrala from USA.
Heart and Fishhead nebulae also includes: Cr30/Mel16/IC1824/NGC1027, IC1831, LBN646-48,50,55-57, and LDN1356,59-73. Ram Samudrala from USA.
The comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3 and the bright meteor from alpha Capricornids meteor shower. Igor Zinchenko from Ukraine.
The Three Peaks of Lavaredo. Alessio de’ Milanesi from Italy.
Astrophotography of deep-space object Heart Nebula (IC 1805, sh2-190). Sasho Sk from the Republic of North Macedonia.

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