Jean Dean is an oceanographer, and astronomy is her old hobby. After retirement, she devoted herself entirely to her hobby. Now she can often be seen stuck in a telescope in the yard of her house on the Guernsey Island in the English Channel. 60-year-old Jean became the winner of the NASA competition for an unusual photo of the Rosette Nebula, made for five nights spent under the stars.
The Rosette Nebula, also called the Cosmic Rose, is a cloud of dust and gas in which there are 10,000 stars, all of which are as bright and powerful as the sun. Bright white young stars grow in the center of the nebula, and hot gas areas around them appear red. Lilac tones create dust particles.
NASA-recognized astrophotographer lives with her 70-year-old husband Peter. Jean is also a member of the Guernsey Astronomical Society.
“My interest in astronomy arose when I was a child,” Jean told the Guernsey Press. – I was lucky that Guernsey has very dark nights. I have been doing astrophotography, probably about 10 years or more. Began to shoot more on the film camera. It was very difficult. And digital cameras are much more sensitive. The way this picture came out was unexpected. ”
“I am very happy and surprised by such a high rating,” she said.
Jean spent five nights in her garden, observing the star cluster of the Rosette Nebula, which is 5 thousand light years away from Earth. It is located in the constellation Unicorn of the Milky Way.
Jean sent her photo, taken in 13 hours of total exposure time, to NASA's Astronomical Photo of the Day (APOD) competition. She was motivated by a friend and fellow astrophotographer Trevor Mahi, who had recently died. She dedicated a snapshot of his memory.
Jean did not even think that they would answer her, and was amazed when, on April 12, 2019, she learned that she had won the contest.
“It’s a great honor for an amateur to appear on the APOD website, and it was a joyful surprise,” says Jean proudly.
Supported by NASA and the University of Michigan Technology since 1995, the website publishes many breathtaking deep-space images daily, with brief explanations by professional astronomers. Photography Jean will enter a database that schools, universities and the general public have access to.
“Photos can be sent by research observatories, the Hubble Space Telescope or amateur astronomers,” explained Jean. – This is a huge educational tool. […] People often think that the space between the stars is empty. In fact, there are large, extremely dense clouds containing gas, such as hydrogen, and interstellar dust. ”
NASA’s APOD site described the photograph of Jean in simple words understood by a layperson:
“The petals of this cosmic rose are in fact a star nursery. Small stars are only a few million years old, and the central cavity of the nebula has a diameter of about 50 light years. ”
“These areas are called giant molecular clouds, and they are very important – this is the birthplace of new stars,” Jean explained, “solar systems are created there with planets, moons and life-giving possibilities.”
Jean invites everyone to watch and study the stars and planets:
"We are trying to encourage people to look more at the sky."
Source: Epoch Times