Comet ISON didn't live up to its advance billing as the "Comet of the Century," but photographers still managed to turn the broken-up snowball into a star.
The evidence of that can be seen in the award winners from an ISON photo contest sponsored by the National Science Foundation's Division of Astronomical Sciences, Astronomy magazine and Discover magazine.
Skywatchers hoped the comet would turn into a stunner after last November's close encounter with the sun, but instead it fizzled away to nearly nothing. Almost all of the pictures entered in the contest were taken before the encounter.
Damian Peach / NSF
British photographer Damian Peach won first place in the "Through-the-Scope" category for his photo of Comet ISON, titled "Broom Star."
The first-place winners included Atish Aman of Delhi, India, in the "Cameras and Tripods" category; Ohio's John Chumack in the "Piggyback Cameras" category; and Britain's Damian Peach in the "Through-the-Scope" category. Website visitors voted in Portugal's Eric Cardoso as the "People's Choice" winner.
Prizes of up to $2,500 were awarded over the weekend at the Northeast Astronomy Forum in Suffern, N.Y. To see all seven of the top photos, check out NSF's website — or get your hands on Astronomy's June issue.
First published April 14 2014, 6:58 PM
Alan Boyle is the science editor for NBC News Digital. He joined MSNBC.com at its inception in July 1996, and took on the science role in July 1997 with the landing of NASA's Mars Pathfinder probe. Boyle is responsible for coverage of science and space for NBCNews.com.
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Boyle joined NBCNews.com from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where he was the foreign desk editor from 1987 to 1996. Boyle has won awards for science journalism from numerous organizations, including the National Academies, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Association of Science Writers. Boyle is the author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference." He lives in Bellevue, Wash.