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News Release 14-052

Global perspectives on a comet

ISON Comet Photography Contest winners provide images from around the world

Photo of stars in the sky and the comet ISON

People's Choice award winner: Eric Cardoso, Setúbal, Portugal, "Comet ISON"

April 14, 2014

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Seven photographers from around the globe received awards for their stunning images of comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) at the Northeast Astronomy Forum held at Rockland Community College today.

The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Astronomical Sciences, Astronomy magazine and Discover magazine co-sponsored the photo contest with three categories for entry: 1) Cameras and tripods without the use of tracking or telescopes; 2) Piggyback cameras riding atop a telescope or motorized mount; 3) Through-the-scope images where the telescope acts as the camera's lens.

Winners are as follows:

Cameras and tripods

1st place--Atish Aman, Delhi, India, "Comet ISON over Pokhara City, Nepal"

2nd place--Barry Burgess, Nova Scotia, Canada, "Comet ISON, Port Medway, Nova Scotia."

Piggyback cameras

1st place--John Chumack, Ohio, USA, "Comet ISON Gossamer Tail & Disconnection Event"

2nd place--Gaeul Song, Korea, "Mercury and ISON"


1st place--Damian Peach, Hampshire, U.K., "Broom Star"

2nd place--Gerald Rhemann, Vienna, Austria, "Comet C/2012 S1 ISON"

People's Choice

Eric Cardoso, Setúbal, Portugal, "Comet ISON"

"ISON was one of the brightest comets in decades, and millions were captivated last November as this sun-grazing comet flew dangerously close to the sun's surface," said Maria Womack, an NSF astronomy division program director.  "It was so exciting to cheer with so many others in the world as the comet made its first trip to the inner solar system, which, sadly, it did not survive.

"Capturing an event like Comet ISON is even more of an achievement, because it was so close to the sun and visible to the naked eye for such a short time. Photographers like those who did so well in our contest, make sure the rest of us don't miss these special occasions. The pictures are impressive and ethereal--and truly captured the comet's last gasp."

In fact, Comet ISON deteriorated to almost nothing after the point at which it was closest to the sun, so virtually all submissions were of images prior to that point.

Final judges for the contest included Ann Druyan, an author, Cosmos producer and widow of the late Carl Sagan; Daphne and Tony Hallas, two world renowned astro-photographers; Jon Lomberg, an American space artist and science journalist; and David Malin, a British-Australian astronomer and photographer.

First prizes yielded $2,500; second prizes, $1,000. In addition to the six prize winners, NSF website visitors chose an additional "People's Choice" award worth $1,500. Winners will be featured in Astronomy magazine's June issue.


Media Contacts
Ivy F. Kupec, NSF, (703) 292-8796, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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