The first image of Mr. Peter Horalek was published by NASA in July 2014. Less than 9 years later, his 40th anniversary image of the day, taken in collaboration with the Institute of Physics in Opava, shows a unique combination of nighttime glows in nature: a starry sky with the Milky Way above a plankton-lit beach on an island in the Indian Ocean.
Among the 40 NASA images authored or co-authored by Mgr. Petr Horalek from the Institute of Physics in Opava, we can find images of various astronomical phenomena and views of (not only) the night sky captured in many places around the world. Among the phenomena, solar eclipses and lunar eclipses are the most frequent. During one lunar eclipse, the author managed to capture a rare glimpse of a meteorite hitting the lunar surface. His other domain is comet photography; NASA has published his images of comet NEOWISE and this year's comet ZTF, for example. As the first Czech photo ambassador for the European Southern Observatory (ESO), he had several opportunities to travel to both the La Silla and Paranal observatories in Chile, where he captured views of the sky far from light pollution. The most frequently published site was the Seč Dam in the Chrudim region, which Horalek grew to love as a child and from where he took a total of 7 NASA published images.
Astrophotographer Petr Horálek is a delegate of the International Dark Sky Asssotiation and his many photographs consistently draw attention to the problem of light pollution. The Czech Astronomical Society, whose Expert Group for Light Pollution Solutions works closely with the Ministry of the Environment, which extends the protection of dark skies to the night environment. In recent years, tools are finally being developed to protect nightlife or human health, such as the Methodological Guideline for Assessment in the EIA process and, in particular, the recently adopted Czech technical standard ČSN 36 0459 - Limiting the Adverse Effects of Outdoor Lighting, effective from 1 March 2023. However, this is still not enough and we still need more in the area of protecting the night environment, because living nature is very vulnerable in the human effort to turn night into a prolonged day. The way to go is to cut light at night when we don't need it, just 'last one out', or not to shine full light throughout the night. For more information you can visit this website.
NASA's Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD) is a prestigious award for the most interesting astronomical photograph of the day, carefully selected for each day and then accompanied by an educational caption by NASA associate editors Prof. Jerry Bonnell (of Michigan Technological University) and Prof. Robert Nemiroff (of the University of Maryland). APOD's motto is "Explore the Universe" and since 1995, when the selection began, it has become one of the most respected of its type worldwide. The accompanying texts are translated into 23 world languages, including English (which has been handled by Josef Chlachula since 1999), and APOD is followed on social media by hundreds of millions of visitors a day.
Contact details and additional information:
Mgr. Petr Horalek
PR spokeperson for european projects at the Institute of physics in Opava
Telefon: +420 732 826 853
RNDr. Tomas Graf, Ph.D.Head of WHOO! and Unisphere Observatory at the Institute of physics in Opava
Telefon: +420 553 684 548
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