Other than AI, 2022 was a big year for astrophotography, considering that James Webb Space Telescope reached its destination and sent back its first photos. Of course, there have been many other memorable moments and photos, and in this article we’ll share our top ten with you. Okay, and a few honorable mentions, because we just love astrophotography!
As I mentioned, James Webb Space Telescope sent back its first photos this year, which are absolutely mind-blowing! After revealing its deepest, sharpest image of the universe ever, NASA unveiled the rest of the images as well – and it was truly a memorable moment.
After NASA started publishing photos taken by James Webb telescope, the comparison with Hubble was inevitable. And you have to admit, Webb’s images are much sharper and more detailed than those taken by Hubble. But hey, Hubble’s still got it – guess who shot the most distant star ever seen! It’s great to have two powerful telescopes out there to help us learn about the universe and treat is with amazing photos.
One of my personal favorites in 2022 was an article about sonified Butterfly Nebula. In other words, it’s a photo turned into music. I often draw inspiration for my photos from the songs I like, and this is kinda doing it the other way around. It’s sounds magical, and you’ll find more “space music” here, and here.
Here’s another one of my absolute favorites. This photo of the “smiling sun” teleported me back into my childhood when I drew the sun with a huge smile on its face. Of course, this “smile” is actually a few coronal holes seen in ultraviolet light: they are the regions where fast solar wind gushes out into space. But I can still fantasize that the sun is smiling at us, right?
First image of a supermassive black hole was revealed in 2019, and this year, astronomers managed to capture one in our own galaxy! Of course, the black hole itself is black and a hole, as my buddy Alex noted. But scientists see and photograph what surrounds it, and what we’re seeing is actually the black hole’s shadow against the backdrop of glowing gas and dust.
Let’s go back to James Webb Space Telescope for a moment. And that marvelous photo of Jupiter Webb took in August 2022. We compared it to the first photo of Jupiter ever taken and took a moment to be grateful and amazed about how far astronomy has come in some 150 years.
Our favorite space photos weren’t only taken from space, but also here from Earth. And one of my personal favorites is this photo of Mars and Moon taken by Andrew McCarthy. He took quite a lot of splendid photos over the course of 2022, usually without even leaving his backyard. This year, astrophotographers had a once-in-a-lifetime chance for capturing comet Leonard – and Andrew shot it too. Since I’ve followed his work for a few years now, I love seeing how much better he is becoming with every photo he shares.
Speaking of astrophotography from the ground, Milky Way Photographer of the Year always treats us with some marvelous photos, and 2022 was not an exception. At the end of the year, they also shared the results of the Northern Lights Photographer of the Year, and they’re equally wonderful.
Many people find bats scary, but I find them pretty cute. So, I loved this photo of the Bat Nebula. It was captured by the RiDK 500 telescope at Observatorio El Sauce, Chile and processed by Mark Hansen and Mike Selby.
While I love, so to say, intentional astrophotography, I also love those photos and videos that were a matter of pure luck. Such was this moment when a plumber captured footage of a meteor, or it could have been a satellite re-entering the orbit. His dashcam was rolling while he was driving and, well, it captured a sight you definitely don’t see every day!
Since this year was filled with fantastic astro photos and stories, it was tough to choose only ten articles. That’s why I just had to include a few “honorable mentions” as well:
Twitter bans astrophotographer for three months over an “intimate” shot of a meteor: Can you imagine seeing anything “dirty” in a photo or video of a meteor? Apparently, Twitter can, and this is one of the craziest stories I’ve covered this year.
Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2022: being one of my favorite contests, Astronomy Photographer of the Year just had to find its place on this list, one way or another. Other than winning images, we had the chance to see this year’s shortlists and People’s Choice winners, and there are plenty of fantastic photos in all selections.
Photographer captures all of the sun’s and moon’s colors in mesmerizing composites: Italian photographer Marcella Pace captured all colors of the sun and the moon that we can see our eyes and our cameras. These projects were time-consuming and took a lot of devotion and skill, but it was more than worth it.
This photo shows the moon and five planets of the solar system lined up in the sky: 2022 had a lot of treats for astrophotographers and astronomy enthusiasts, and one of them was seeing five planets of our solar system all lined up in the sky, along with the Moon. Photographers from Italian astronomical society Gruppo Astrofili Palidoro used the chance to photograph this event, and they shared some details and the fantastic photo with us.