Barely visible to the unaided eye, Messier 8 (M8) – the Lagoon Nebula – lies about five thousand light years away in the constellation Sagittarius. It's over a hundred light years across, an enormous turbulent stellar nursery.
2018 was the 10th anniversary of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards. The Royal Observatory Greenwich first hosted them in 2009. But this year the event was in the National Maritime Museum, and the 2018 images - plus some great past winners - are on exhibition in a brand new gallery.
Lying between Virgo and Scorpius in the zodiac, Libra is an ancient constellation. The stars now represent a weighing scale, as they did four thousand years ago in Babylon. But how did its brightest stars come to have names related to a scorpion's claws?
A professional musician named William Herschel was the first person in history to discover a planet. Later, as a professional astronomer, Herschel studied the stars and deep space objects to try to understand “the construction of the heavens.” He was one of the fathers of modern astronomy.
Many foods are associated with a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. But what do you suppose would be on the menu for Thanksgiving in space? Would you have to squeeze turkey paste out of a tube and get gelatin-covered dessert cubes? No. Food has improved since the early days of space flight.
Someone must have left the door open, because the skies are full of dogs. You can see the dogs of Orion and the hunting dogs of the shepherd Bootes in pursuit of the Great Bear. There is also the Running Dog Nebula, and the memory of poor Laika, the first cosmonaut, who perished in space.