Southampton promotes astro-artists' portrayal of black hole discoveries
Artists depicted the scientific marvels of black hole astronomy research in an international art-science competition led by the University of Southampton and supported by NASA.
The Astroarteagujero competition, hosted by the Astronomy Group, invited Spanish speaking amateur and professional artists to learn about black hole research based on NASA's Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) mission, and express their new-found inspiration and knowledge through artwork.
Southampton's Argentinian Astronomy Lecturer Dr Diego Altamirano inspired participants with insights into the latest astronomy research in his Spanish language podcast Agujeros negros en el Universo (Black Holes in the Universe).
The winning entries from the four different age groups have been celebrated as NASA's High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC) Picture of the Week, with all submissions available to view on the Astroarteagujero Facebook group.
Dr Altamirano, Principal Research Fellow, says: "I wanted to share the knowledge I have gained in the last 15 years with a wider international audience. As Spanish is my first language we've reached out to a global Spanish-speaking audience who has really engaged with the concept of combining art and astronomy in this competition. We have been very impressed by the range and standard of entries."
"I'm thrilled that 90 percent of participants say they investigated black holes further because of the podcast and competition. Three quarters of these astro-artists also said that the competition had a positive effect on how they see astronomy, astronomers, and science in general."
The NASA NICER mission allows astronomers to study extremes of gravity, matter, density and electromagnetic fields through readings taken from the International Space Station. Its achievements included the ground-breaking discovery of the contraction of the X-ray corona in a black hole transient, which was reported in Nature.
Astroarteagujero's over 18s category was won by Mexican artists Christian Zamarripa Rivera and Estevan Barrón (top left). The 12 to 17 years age group was won by Ecuadorian artist Domenica Nuñez del Arco Abad (bottom centre) together with Mexican artist Gabriela Higinio (bottom left), with the 7 to 11 years age group secured by Argentinian artist Ariel Tagliebue (bottom right) and the under 6s category awarded to Mexican artist Alan Nevarez Marquez (top centre).