NICER / ISS Science Nugget
for December 31, 2020

Engaging the Spanish-Speaking Community with NICER's Black Hole Research

The Astronomy Group at the University of Southampton, with the support of NASA's Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) mission, The Royal Society and the popular site for science communication, organized an art-science competition in order to engage the international Spanish-speaking community with Black Hole research based on recent NICER discoveries (which includes the groundbreaking discovery of the contraction of the X-ray corona in the black hole transient MAXI J1820+070, a research paper published in 2019 in the renowned science journal, Nature).

Both amateur and professional artists were invited to learn about astronomy, black holes and NICER by listening to Dr. Diego Altamirano's podcast, "Agujeros negros en el Universo" ("Black Holes in the Universe"), and to express their new-found knowledge and inspiration through their artwork. The competition attracted more than 160 artists from 15 countries with more than 260 art pieces submitted. The winning entries, as well as details about the competition, were featured as a High Energy Astrophysics Picture of the Week, and also can be found at the Astroarteagujero Facebook group (and all the submitted artwork can be found using the hashtag #astroarteagujero on Facebook and Instagram).

 12-17 year age group, and her work inspired by Botticelli's

Figure: Doménica Nuñez del Arco Abad (Ecuador), one of the winners of the 12-17 age group, and her work inspired by Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus". This piece features an image of NICER, the black hole MAXI J1820+070 studied by NICER, and an astronaut in the role of Venus.

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