Monday, October 10, 2011

Art and Awards

Saturday night was the annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet up at Hale Pōhaku for all the Mauna Kea volunteers. Although I've been to two before this (indeed, my first time ever volunteering was on the night of the banquet in 2009), this is the first time I've been able to stay for the entire banquet (the banquet runs longer than the time the volunteers who are actually volunteering that night need to be down at the Vis by).

I enjoyed the banquet immensely, especially getting to see various people I knew recognized for their outstanding contributions as volunteers. There were 11 “major” awards given out, things such as “Most Dedicated Volunteer,” “Most Enthusiastic,” and “Stellar Spirit.” And then, in a totally unexpected turn of events,  I heard my name called out associated with the last one, “Best Images of the Year.”

Close-up of the amazing fleece jacket I got as part of it!

Of course such an award needed some examples, and I found it mildly amusing (even as I was blushing up a storm) that two of my pieces of artwork were shown while only one image made using the imaging telescope was. (Although, since it was the image in the post directly preceding this one, I suppose you could argue that it was equivalent to showing 16 images.)

Needless to say, I was touched, and truly honored. One of the nicest things an artist can hear is that someone enjoyed their work and as you can imagine I was pretty pleased. In fact, coming off of that, this seems as good a time as any reveal my latest piece of work. It's based off the recent announcement of the discovery of Kepler-16b, one of only five planets known to orbit two stars, and the first one whose parent suns are close to being Sun-like (though both are still smaller than our Sun). This image is of a completely fictitious solar system, although the two stars in it have fairly realistic coloration and relative size.

I'm not really happy with the spiral arm running through this picture, but I really, really like how the stars and planet came out, enough to make this my background picture (that's why it has the dimensions it does). They are the main focus, after all. I tried to give an impression of the stars' mutual gravitational pull from their close obit distorting them somewhat away from a purely spherical shape, and for some reason I find the tiny starspots on their surfaces adorable. Ah, well, I should probably get to bed now after being up late last night. A hui hou!


  1. Hey congratulations! Best images of the year? Very nice! I'm glad they are still doing that award!

  2. Nice jacket! And congratulations, you have done well.

  3. Congratulations Daniel! You deserve it! Nathan, you were the first and only other person to get the award!


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