Winners of the annual "Astronomy picture of the year" award.

Physics majors Michael Waddell and Orlando Gomez tied for the best color picture from images taken by the SARA telescope from Kitt Peak. Michael chose to use images of a star cluster, M46 to color combine, while Orlando used the Southern Pinwheel galaxy M83 images. All four judges ranked their pictures as either 1 or 2, but in the end each received 2 first place votes establishing the tie. The reward: Pizza for the entire observational astronomy class!

Mr. Gomez's caption is: M83, also known as the "Southern Pinwheel Galaxy", is one of the brightest known spiral galaxies in the night sky! It is over 15 million light years away and it is a collection of billions of stars and dust that spiral around its galactic nuclear core. m83.jpg

Mr. Waddell's caption is: M46 is an open cluster in the constellation Puppis and was discovered by Charles Messier in 1771 and it contains the planetary nebula NGC 2348 m46.jpg.