Space

Sublime snaps from the 2019 Astronomy Photographer of the Year shortlist

Sublime snaps from the 2019 As...
Eye of Mordor: This stunning image is the result of narrowband data on the Helix Nebula, gathered over two months from suburban Melbourne, Australia
Eye of Mordor: This stunning image is the result of narrowband data on the Helix Nebula, gathered over two months from suburban Melbourne, Australia
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The photographer has been wanting to get an image like this for years, but bright comets have been lacking. Then along came 46P/Wirtanen. The photographer used software to simulate the view and it showed that the comet would set over Loaf Mountain in the Bighorns at 3 a.m. on that particular night in early December. These mountains are often too windy for long exposures, but everything came together. Using a tracking mount, the photographer shot a 4-panel mosaic of the comet and two additional exposures of the snowy mountain and later combined everything together.Buffalo, Wyoming, USA, 7 December 2018
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The photographer has been wanting to get an image like this for years, but bright comets have been lacking. Then along came 46P/Wirtanen. The photographer used software to simulate the view and it showed that the comet would set over Loaf Mountain in the Bighorns at 3 a.m. on that particular night in early December. These mountains are often too windy for long exposures, but everything came together. Using a tracking mount, the photographer shot a 4-panel mosaic of the comet and two additional exposures of the snowy mountain and later combined everything together.Buffalo, Wyoming, USA, 7 December 2018
The Goðafoss waterfall is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. The water of the river Skjálfandafljót falls from a height of 12 meters over a width of 30 meters. The photographer had visited the location three times before and each time the weather was not ideal. This time around the photographer had a half an hour window of good weather and during this brief time, the aurora began to dance. This photo was merged from two consecutive images with same EXIF and taken in the same place. Bárðardalur, Iceland, 14 January 2019
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The Goðafoss waterfall is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. The water of the river Skjálfandafljót falls from a height of 12 meters over a width of 30 meters. The photographer had visited the location three times before and each time the weather was not ideal. This time around the photographer had a half an hour window of good weather and during this brief time, the aurora began to dance. This photo was merged from two consecutive images with same EXIF and taken in the same place. Bárðardalur, Iceland, 14 January 2019
NGC 7293, also known as the Helix Nebula is so-named because it appears that you are looking down the axis of a helix. In reality, it is now understood to have a surprisingly complex geometry, including radial filaments and extended outer loops. The Helix Nebula is one of the brightest and closest examples of a planetary nebula, a gas cloud created at the end of the life of a sun-like star. The remnant central stellar core, destined to become a white dwarf star, glows in light so energetic it causes the previously expelled gas to fluoresce. This image is the result of narrowband data on the Helix Nebula, gathered over two months from suburban Melbourne, Australia. The photographer extracted every bit of data to get the outer chevrons and filigree details to separate from the light pollution and wanted to show the OIII eye structures in the iris, so Photoshop masking was used to balance the overwhelming H-alpha signal and let the OIII present well.Melbourne, Australia, 27 November 2018
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NGC 7293, also known as the Helix Nebula is so-named because it appears that you are looking down the axis of a helix. In reality, it is now understood to have a surprisingly complex geometry, including radial filaments and extended outer loops. The Helix Nebula is one of the brightest and closest examples of a planetary nebula, a gas cloud created at the end of the life of a sun-like star. The remnant central stellar core, destined to become a white dwarf star, glows in light so energetic it causes the previously expelled gas to fluoresce. This image is the result of narrowband data on the Helix Nebula, gathered over two months from suburban Melbourne, Australia. The photographer extracted every bit of data to get the outer chevrons and filigree details to separate from the light pollution and wanted to show the OIII eye structures in the iris, so Photoshop masking was used to balance the overwhelming H-alpha signal and let the OIII present well.Melbourne, Australia, 27 November 2018
The spectacular Milky Way over the picturesque Bavarian mountain, Herzogstand. The photographer often hikes up this mountain, mostly to observe the Milky Way. The image also depicts a beautiful glow over the horizon, the lakes Walchensee and Kochelsee on the left side and a tiny cabin on the right side.Kochel, Bavaria, Germany, 22 May 2018
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The spectacular Milky Way over the picturesque Bavarian mountain, Herzogstand. The photographer often hikes up this mountain, mostly to observe the Milky Way. The image also depicts a beautiful glow over the horizon, the lakes Walchensee and Kochelsee on the left side and a tiny cabin on the right side.Kochel, Bavaria, Germany, 22 May 2018
In the winter of 2018, the photographer and his family travelled to Iceland to capture the Northern Lights. Just at the right time, the photographer witnessed two outbursts and screamed with excitement. This spectacular sight can’t be seen in the mid-latitudes so it was a very special and unique moment.  Jökulsárlón, Iceland, 6 February 2019
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In the winter of 2018, the photographer and his family travelled to Iceland to capture the Northern Lights. Just at the right time, the photographer witnessed two outbursts and screamed with excitement. This spectacular sight can’t be seen in the mid-latitudes so it was a very special and unique moment.  Jökulsárlón, Iceland, 6 February 2019
Lake Urmia used to be the largest saltwater lake in the Middle East. Due to climate change, damming of rivers and low rainfall, the lake now contains only five per cent of the amount of water it used to two decades ago. The ship shown was 6 km from the port. Because of the lack of suitable transport, the photographer took a motorcycle for 2.5 km and walked the rest of the way. The summer Milky Way is very prominent in this photo. On the galaxy zone, Saturn is located besides the Lagoon Nebula. On the right of the horizon, you can see the extreme light pollution of Urmia, which is caused by ever-increasing city development.Lake Urmia, Iran, 11 August 2018
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Lake Urmia used to be the largest saltwater lake in the Middle East. Due to climate change, damming of rivers and low rainfall, the lake now contains only five per cent of the amount of water it used to two decades ago. The ship shown was 6 km from the port. Because of the lack of suitable transport, the photographer took a motorcycle for 2.5 km and walked the rest of the way. The summer Milky Way is very prominent in this photo. On the galaxy zone, Saturn is located besides the Lagoon Nebula. On the right of the horizon, you can see the extreme light pollution of Urmia, which is caused by ever-increasing city development.Lake Urmia, Iran, 11 August 2018
The NGC 6357, commonly known as the Lobster Nebula, spans about 400 light years and lies about 8,000 light years away from the Earth, toward the constellation of the Scorpion. Due to the nature of light collected, colours in this image are arbitrary, with hot hydrogen shown in red, and oxygen and sulphur in blue and green respectively. However, extreme care was taken to preserve the faintest structures and intricacies within the nebulosity when stitching the data together. Data for this narrowband image was acquired over three nights in June 2018 from the photographer’s small backyard in the tropical North Queensland. Proserpine, Queensland, Australia, 1–2 & 4–6 June 2018
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The NGC 6357, commonly known as the Lobster Nebula, spans about 400 light years and lies about 8,000 light years away from the Earth, toward the constellation of the Scorpion. Due to the nature of light collected, colours in this image are arbitrary, with hot hydrogen shown in red, and oxygen and sulphur in blue and green respectively. However, extreme care was taken to preserve the faintest structures and intricacies within the nebulosity when stitching the data together. Data for this narrowband image was acquired over three nights in June 2018 from the photographer’s small backyard in the tropical North Queensland. Proserpine, Queensland, Australia, 1–2 & 4–6 June 2018
This photo was a complex challenge for the photographer. When he arrived at night on the cliff of Cala Cipolla in the south of Sardinia he looked for a very high point to take a 360° shot and had to make sure that all the elements would be in the right place. The Capo Malfatano lighthouse on the right with Ursa Major above, the light pollution of Chia, the small town on the left and finally, the photographer holding the headlight under an incredible Milky Way created the perfect composition for the photographer’s first 360° panorama with the astrotracked sky. Pula, Sardinia, Italy, 18 April 2018
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This photo was a complex challenge for the photographer. When he arrived at night on the cliff of Cala Cipolla in the south of Sardinia he looked for a very high point to take a 360° shot and had to make sure that all the elements would be in the right place. The Capo Malfatano lighthouse on the right with Ursa Major above, the light pollution of Chia, the small town on the left and finally, the photographer holding the headlight under an incredible Milky Way created the perfect composition for the photographer’s first 360° panorama with the astrotracked sky. Pula, Sardinia, Italy, 18 April 2018
A full disk solar portrait captured close to solar minimum showing a placid chromosphere disturbed by a single active region 2706. The tonality of the chromosphere and its features have been inverted in this image, which has been colorized from the original black and white data.Buffalo, New York, USA, 22 April 2018
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A full disk solar portrait captured close to solar minimum showing a placid chromosphere disturbed by a single active region 2706. The tonality of the chromosphere and its features have been inverted in this image, which has been colorized from the original black and white data.Buffalo, New York, USA, 22 April 2018
For the photographer the Carina Nebula is the most beautiful nebula in the night sky. The image showcases how extensive and colourful the Nebula really is. Using the iTelescope service he shot this picture with a monochrome camera using three different filters hydrogen alpha, OIII and SII and then, after collecting all the data, he combined those three filters into one colour image using Pixinsight. The yellows and oranges show the H-alpha and SII, and the blues show the OIII.  Siding Spring Observatory, New South Wales, Australia, 24 January 2019
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For the photographer the Carina Nebula is the most beautiful nebula in the night sky. The image showcases how extensive and colourful the Nebula really is. Using the iTelescope service he shot this picture with a monochrome camera using three different filters hydrogen alpha, OIII and SII and then, after collecting all the data, he combined those three filters into one colour image using Pixinsight. The yellows and oranges show the H-alpha and SII, and the blues show the OIII.  Siding Spring Observatory, New South Wales, Australia, 24 January 2019
At the edge of the Arctic Circle, where millions of years of ice had collected, the photographer felt like being in another dimension where time passed more slowly. The flaring aurora reflected on the water, the stones on the surface of the lake, along with the reflections of the stars, shone like diamonds. A shooting star streaked over too fast for the photographer to see but fortunately, everything was captured by the camera. Jökulsárlón, Iceland, 26 January 2019
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At the edge of the Arctic Circle, where millions of years of ice had collected, the photographer felt like being in another dimension where time passed more slowly. The flaring aurora reflected on the water, the stones on the surface of the lake, along with the reflections of the stars, shone like diamonds. A shooting star streaked over too fast for the photographer to see but fortunately, everything was captured by the camera. Jökulsárlón, Iceland, 26 January 2019
The image was taken at 4.45 a.m. on 13 August 2018 near Keluke Lake, Qinghai Province, China. A group of 11 went to the lake to watch the Perseids and this was the photographer’s first meteor shower watch. When the group were about to pack up and go back to the hotel it suddenly appeared, a fireball that flashed over the sky and lit up the ground. The halo effect lasted about three minutes. Keluke Lake, Qinghai, China, 13 August 2018
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The image was taken at 4.45 a.m. on 13 August 2018 near Keluke Lake, Qinghai Province, China. A group of 11 went to the lake to watch the Perseids and this was the photographer’s first meteor shower watch. When the group were about to pack up and go back to the hotel it suddenly appeared, a fireball that flashed over the sky and lit up the ground. The halo effect lasted about three minutes. Keluke Lake, Qinghai, China, 13 August 2018
The Running Man Nebula can be found in the constellation of Orion, located some 1,500 light years from Earth. NGC 1977, NGC 1975 and NGC 1973 lay south of the famous and substantial stellar nursery called the Orion Nebula. NGC 1977 was first discovered in 1786 by William Herschel, with Heinrich Louis d'Arrest first identifying the two smaller regions of NGC 1973 (1862) and NGC 1975 (1864). This nebula complex is commonly called the Running Man Nebula due to the somewhat identifiable outline of a man striding through space. The area is heavily influenced by surrounding dust and gas, with hot energetic young stars lighting the foreground with a blue light that seems tempered from the background’s associated red emission nebula, producing a blue reflection nebula that is slightly tainted with a magenta toning.Carapooee, Victoria, Australia, 15 January 2019
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The Running Man Nebula can be found in the constellation of Orion, located some 1,500 light years from Earth. NGC 1977, NGC 1975 and NGC 1973 lay south of the famous and substantial stellar nursery called the Orion Nebula. NGC 1977 was first discovered in 1786 by William Herschel, with Heinrich Louis d'Arrest first identifying the two smaller regions of NGC 1973 (1862) and NGC 1975 (1864). This nebula complex is commonly called the Running Man Nebula due to the somewhat identifiable outline of a man striding through space. The area is heavily influenced by surrounding dust and gas, with hot energetic young stars lighting the foreground with a blue light that seems tempered from the background’s associated red emission nebula, producing a blue reflection nebula that is slightly tainted with a magenta toning.Carapooee, Victoria, Australia, 15 January 2019
This is an image of NGC 253, also known as the Sculptor Galaxy. It is a spiral galaxy about 11 million light years away in the constellation Sculptor. It is a starburst galaxy, which means it undergoes periods of intense star formation and is the largest galaxy in a group of galaxies called the Sculptor Group.Yass, New South Wales, Australia, 12 November 2018
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This is an image of NGC 253, also known as the Sculptor Galaxy. It is a spiral galaxy about 11 million light years away in the constellation Sculptor. It is a starburst galaxy, which means it undergoes periods of intense star formation and is the largest galaxy in a group of galaxies called the Sculptor Group.Yass, New South Wales, Australia, 12 November 2018
The Moon is so much richer than the grey body we normally perceive with the human eye. In this RGB image the color has been slightly increased, but it reveals the real appearance of Earth’s natural satellite. The differences in the chemical constitution of the lunar surface and changes in mineral content can produce subtle color variations in reflected light. The blue hues that can be seen on the seas like Mare Tranquillitatis or Mare Fecunditatis (right centre and edge) are revealing areas rich in titanium. According to Hawaii's Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, the presence of this unusual titanium-rich layer was produced by the crystallization of a huge ocean of magma that surrounded the Moon when it formed. This photograph is a result of a high-resolution mosaic composed by four panels, each one made from 30 images combined together to reveal a sharp and detailed surface up to the lunar limb.Dark Sky® Observatory, Alqueva, Portugal, 25 October 2018
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The Moon is so much richer than the grey body we normally perceive with the human eye. In this RGB image the color has been slightly increased, but it reveals the real appearance of Earth’s natural satellite. The differences in the chemical constitution of the lunar surface and changes in mineral content can produce subtle color variations in reflected light. The blue hues that can be seen on the seas like Mare Tranquillitatis or Mare Fecunditatis (right centre and edge) are revealing areas rich in titanium. According to Hawaii's Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, the presence of this unusual titanium-rich layer was produced by the crystallization of a huge ocean of magma that surrounded the Moon when it formed. This photograph is a result of a high-resolution mosaic composed by four panels, each one made from 30 images combined together to reveal a sharp and detailed surface up to the lunar limb.Dark Sky® Observatory, Alqueva, Portugal, 25 October 2018
An amazing bright display of noctilucent (night-shining) clouds as seen from Thurso Beach in the north of Scotland. The noctilucent cloud-viewing season normally comes to an end around mid-August and this particularly bright ‘Grand Finale’ is mesmerizing as the silver ripples and veils slowly changed shape above the northern horizon. This image was selected from a sequence of over 600 individual images taken to produce a time-lapse video.Caithness, UK, 10 August 2018
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An amazing bright display of noctilucent (night-shining) clouds as seen from Thurso Beach in the north of Scotland. The noctilucent cloud-viewing season normally comes to an end around mid-August and this particularly bright ‘Grand Finale’ is mesmerizing as the silver ripples and veils slowly changed shape above the northern horizon. This image was selected from a sequence of over 600 individual images taken to produce a time-lapse video.Caithness, UK, 10 August 2018
The Milky Way is stretching over the splendid Dolomites dressed in white. The photographer shot the foreground at 7 p.m. in good blue hour and took many vertical images. The Milky Way was captured at 5:30 am the next morning at the exact same position. The photographer composed this panorama using many vertical shots so the foreground and the comet would be perfectly lit. Giau Pass, Dolomites, Italy, 6–7 February 2019
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The Milky Way is stretching over the splendid Dolomites dressed in white. The photographer shot the foreground at 7 p.m. in good blue hour and took many vertical images. The Milky Way was captured at 5:30 am the next morning at the exact same position. The photographer composed this panorama using many vertical shots so the foreground and the comet would be perfectly lit. Giau Pass, Dolomites, Italy, 6–7 February 2019
The small cavern perfectly frames a mesmerizing view of the aurora flaring up, the shining stars and the magnificent Seljalandsfoss waterfall situated on the South Coast of Iceland with a drop of 60 meters. The photographer stood there thinking about this view and how our universe is just a small part of a much greater space.Seljalandsfoss, Iceland, 8 January 2019
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The small cavern perfectly frames a mesmerizing view of the aurora flaring up, the shining stars and the magnificent Seljalandsfoss waterfall situated on the South Coast of Iceland with a drop of 60 meters. The photographer stood there thinking about this view and how our universe is just a small part of a much greater space.Seljalandsfoss, Iceland, 8 January 2019
Mount Hooker sits 15 miles past alpine lakes and mountain passes in the Wind River Mountain Range in Wyoming. After the sun set the photographer ventured across the lake near camp. The lake was shallow; at its far end, the low water revealed stones of various sizes. Following the narrow tunnel of the headlamp's beam, the photographer leapt from rock to stone across the water. The sky was clear, the glorious Milky Way was looming over the mountains and the stars shone bright and everything was reflected beautifully on the foreground. The photographer sat on a rock about 20 feet into the lake and started to shoot. Engulfed in dark beauty the photographer realized that astrophotography is primarily about the experience, with the beautiful photo just an extra. Pinedale, Wyoming, USA, 3 September 2018
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Mount Hooker sits 15 miles past alpine lakes and mountain passes in the Wind River Mountain Range in Wyoming. After the sun set the photographer ventured across the lake near camp. The lake was shallow; at its far end, the low water revealed stones of various sizes. Following the narrow tunnel of the headlamp's beam, the photographer leapt from rock to stone across the water. The sky was clear, the glorious Milky Way was looming over the mountains and the stars shone bright and everything was reflected beautifully on the foreground. The photographer sat on a rock about 20 feet into the lake and started to shoot. Engulfed in dark beauty the photographer realized that astrophotography is primarily about the experience, with the beautiful photo just an extra. Pinedale, Wyoming, USA, 3 September 2018
Saturn’s magnificent broad, bright rings and its bright satellites present one of the most beautiful sights visible through the telescope eyepiece. The image showcases Titan at the bottom right, Rhea on the top left, Tethys and Dione to the right of the planet and Enceladus and Mimas under the rings. Saturn’s tilt is cyclical and reaches maximum inclination every 15 years. The maximum tilt toward the Earth was in 2017, offering us the best views of the north polar hexagon and the rings at their widest. Saturn is now beginning to tilt in the opposite direction, meaning the next time the rings are best seen will be in 2032, but we will only see the southern side of the rings and Saturn’s polar hexagon will not be visible from the Earth.Long Bay, Barbados, 5 July 2018
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Saturn’s magnificent broad, bright rings and its bright satellites present one of the most beautiful sights visible through the telescope eyepiece. The image showcases Titan at the bottom right, Rhea on the top left, Tethys and Dione to the right of the planet and Enceladus and Mimas under the rings. Saturn’s tilt is cyclical and reaches maximum inclination every 15 years. The maximum tilt toward the Earth was in 2017, offering us the best views of the north polar hexagon and the rings at their widest. Saturn is now beginning to tilt in the opposite direction, meaning the next time the rings are best seen will be in 2032, but we will only see the southern side of the rings and Saturn’s polar hexagon will not be visible from the Earth.Long Bay, Barbados, 5 July 2018
This image was heavily inspired by Ken Crawford's photo of the Horsehead Nebula which perfectly showcased the hydrogen filaments located within the blue reflection nebula, NGC 2023, just below the Horsehead. The small pink filaments contrast beautifully against the blue reflection nebula. The photographer thinks of those small filaments as the cherry on top of this spectacular region of the night sky caught in a swirl of dust and gas.Deep Sky West Observatory, Rowe, New Mexico, USA, 27 November 2018
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This image was heavily inspired by Ken Crawford's photo of the Horsehead Nebula which perfectly showcased the hydrogen filaments located within the blue reflection nebula, NGC 2023, just below the Horsehead. The small pink filaments contrast beautifully against the blue reflection nebula. The photographer thinks of those small filaments as the cherry on top of this spectacular region of the night sky caught in a swirl of dust and gas.Deep Sky West Observatory, Rowe, New Mexico, USA, 27 November 2018
This image of the Moon started as videos in a 4 x 4 grid. This allowed the photographer to capture high-quality stills, using the technique called 'lucky imaging', to be used in a mosaic and create the full image. The higher contrast shows the level of detail without losing all the color of the mineral deposits on the surface. What the photographer really likes about this image is the clarity of all the craters and valleys, which allow you to zoom in and see the locations of the Apollo landing sites. Goult, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France, 1 August 2018
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This image of the Moon started as videos in a 4 x 4 grid. This allowed the photographer to capture high-quality stills, using the technique called 'lucky imaging', to be used in a mosaic and create the full image. The higher contrast shows the level of detail without losing all the color of the mineral deposits on the surface. What the photographer really likes about this image is the clarity of all the craters and valleys, which allow you to zoom in and see the locations of the Apollo landing sites. Goult, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France, 1 August 2018
During the photographer’s Namibian expedition, there were no plans to take images with a photo lens, but the look of the Milky Way centre in the zenith was simply too breathtaking to ignore. The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy and at the center there is the galactic bulge, the heart of the galaxy, full of gas, dust, and stars. That was the very first time the photographer truly observed and fathomed that we live inside a galactic disk. Isabis Farm, Khomas, Namibia, 15 May 2018
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During the photographer’s Namibian expedition, there were no plans to take images with a photo lens, but the look of the Milky Way centre in the zenith was simply too breathtaking to ignore. The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy and at the center there is the galactic bulge, the heart of the galaxy, full of gas, dust, and stars. That was the very first time the photographer truly observed and fathomed that we live inside a galactic disk. Isabis Farm, Khomas, Namibia, 15 May 2018
This image shows a solitary prominence on the limb of the solar disk. With minimum solar activity, prominences have become a main focus of interest in 2018. The photographer inverted the image during processing to show both the prominence and details of the chromosphere. The photograph consists of a stack of 70 per cent of the best 1,000 frames from an AVI shot at 40fps. The stack was generated using Autostakkert!, the ImPPG software was used for deconvolution, unsharpen masking and tone curve adjustment and Adobe Photoshop CC was used for false coloring and sharpening.Derby, UK, 8 July 2018
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This image shows a solitary prominence on the limb of the solar disk. With minimum solar activity, prominences have become a main focus of interest in 2018. The photographer inverted the image during processing to show both the prominence and details of the chromosphere. The photograph consists of a stack of 70 per cent of the best 1,000 frames from an AVI shot at 40fps. The stack was generated using Autostakkert!, the ImPPG software was used for deconvolution, unsharpen masking and tone curve adjustment and Adobe Photoshop CC was used for false coloring and sharpening.Derby, UK, 8 July 2018
The Gum Nebula or Gum 12 is an emission nebula that extends 36° across the night sky and is actually the very large 12,000-year-old Vela supernova remnant. It mainly consists of red hydrogen and blue doubly ionized oxygen. This is a bi-color image with H-a mapped to red and OIII mapped to both green and blue.Biggera Waters, Australia, 25 February 2018
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The Gum Nebula or Gum 12 is an emission nebula that extends 36° across the night sky and is actually the very large 12,000-year-old Vela supernova remnant. It mainly consists of red hydrogen and blue doubly ionized oxygen. This is a bi-color image with H-a mapped to red and OIII mapped to both green and blue.Biggera Waters, Australia, 25 February 2018
A brightly colored display of the Southern Lights beams high into the night sky on the east coast of Tasmania. The Large Magellanic Cloud also appears at the top centre of the image. Deserted beaches and minimal light pollution make Tasmania an ideal place to photograph the night sky, even more so when the aurora comes out to play. St Helens, Tasmania, Australia, 20 April 2018
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A brightly colored display of the Southern Lights beams high into the night sky on the east coast of Tasmania. The Large Magellanic Cloud also appears at the top centre of the image. Deserted beaches and minimal light pollution make Tasmania an ideal place to photograph the night sky, even more so when the aurora comes out to play. St Helens, Tasmania, Australia, 20 April 2018
This image depicts the Sea of Crises before first quarter, located in the Moon's Crisium basin, just northeast of Mare Tranquillitatis and the shallow cliffs around the top of the Mare slope gently down to the 'shore’. The photograph was taken during the exceptional seeing conditions during the week the UK experienced the 'Beast from the East' storm in February 2018. Yeovil, Somerset, UK, 22 February 2018
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This image depicts the Sea of Crises before first quarter, located in the Moon's Crisium basin, just northeast of Mare Tranquillitatis and the shallow cliffs around the top of the Mare slope gently down to the 'shore’. The photograph was taken during the exceptional seeing conditions during the week the UK experienced the 'Beast from the East' storm in February 2018. Yeovil, Somerset, UK, 22 February 2018
Each year around September and October, the Milky Way is at its best position. The galactic core is right in the middle of the sky. The photographer stood on the cliff by the sea and with his torch he lit up the natural bridge, which looks like a giant hole. The bridge was created by the gradual wearing away of the granite rock by the great Southern Ocean. This is a panoramic image of 25 single exposures combined.Albany, Australia, 8 October 2018
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Each year around September and October, the Milky Way is at its best position. The galactic core is right in the middle of the sky. The photographer stood on the cliff by the sea and with his torch he lit up the natural bridge, which looks like a giant hole. The bridge was created by the gradual wearing away of the granite rock by the great Southern Ocean. This is a panoramic image of 25 single exposures combined.Albany, Australia, 8 October 2018
The majestic aurora, shaped like a bird, is spreading its wings over the destroyed military hydroelectric station located two hours away from Murmansk. The photographer has visited this location several times over the years trying to photograph the aurora flaring over the old station. In September 2018 the photographer returned and managed to capture this magnificent shot.Murmansk Region, Russia, 10 September 2018
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The majestic aurora, shaped like a bird, is spreading its wings over the destroyed military hydroelectric station located two hours away from Murmansk. The photographer has visited this location several times over the years trying to photograph the aurora flaring over the old station. In September 2018 the photographer returned and managed to capture this magnificent shot.Murmansk Region, Russia, 10 September 2018
As the traditional Chinese New Year approached at 9.30 p.m. on 31 January the photographer captured the Aurora Borealis that looked like the ancient, lucky Chinese bird, the phoenix, flying in the sky over the Golden Circle. At the foreground, the aurora reflects its green colors on the river that is crossing through the snow.Golden Circle, Iceland, 1 February 2019
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As the traditional Chinese New Year approached at 9.30 p.m. on 31 January the photographer captured the Aurora Borealis that looked like the ancient, lucky Chinese bird, the phoenix, flying in the sky over the Golden Circle. At the foreground, the aurora reflects its green colors on the river that is crossing through the snow.Golden Circle, Iceland, 1 February 2019
On a very cold morning, with the temperature reaching -27° Celsius, the photographer spent a little over two hours photographing the eclipse and he was using the last battery when he managed to get this shot of the Super Blood Wolf Moon nearing the end of the eclipse. The photographer’s goal was to include the trees in the picture and had very little time to change position and capture the Moon moving between the little opening of the trees. Oulu, Finland, 21 January 2019
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On a very cold morning, with the temperature reaching -27° Celsius, the photographer spent a little over two hours photographing the eclipse and he was using the last battery when he managed to get this shot of the Super Blood Wolf Moon nearing the end of the eclipse. The photographer’s goal was to include the trees in the picture and had very little time to change position and capture the Moon moving between the little opening of the trees. Oulu, Finland, 21 January 2019
After several shots throughout the evening right before wrapping-up for the night the photographer captured the Bodie Island Lighthouse in the Outer Banks of North Carolina sized up with the Milky Way and the starry sky exploding in the background.Nags Head, North Carolina, USA, 13 July 2018
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After several shots throughout the evening right before wrapping-up for the night the photographer captured the Bodie Island Lighthouse in the Outer Banks of North Carolina sized up with the Milky Way and the starry sky exploding in the background.Nags Head, North Carolina, USA, 13 July 2018
This image of the Devil's Head Nebulae Complex is not a traditional RGB photo but a three-color Hubble Palette color scheme. Due to this technique different details, structures and depths are visible. Located 3,000 to 3,500 light years away from Earth, its material consists of ionized hydrogen, dust and other gases. There are also several gas columns depicted on the picture, where numerous stars are born. The final image is the result of 29 hours of exposure.Szarvas, Hungary, 10 October 2018
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This image of the Devil's Head Nebulae Complex is not a traditional RGB photo but a three-color Hubble Palette color scheme. Due to this technique different details, structures and depths are visible. Located 3,000 to 3,500 light years away from Earth, its material consists of ionized hydrogen, dust and other gases. There are also several gas columns depicted on the picture, where numerous stars are born. The final image is the result of 29 hours of exposure.Szarvas, Hungary, 10 October 2018
The brightest part of the Milky Way, the heart of our galaxy, towers above the peak of the grand volcanic mountain, Damavand. Mount Damavand is the highest mountain in the Middle East and the highest volcano in Asia. For the photographer this is the place that you can reach serenity.Nandal, Mazandaran Province, Iran, 8 June 2018
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The brightest part of the Milky Way, the heart of our galaxy, towers above the peak of the grand volcanic mountain, Damavand. Mount Damavand is the highest mountain in the Middle East and the highest volcano in Asia. For the photographer this is the place that you can reach serenity.Nandal, Mazandaran Province, Iran, 8 June 2018
This image depicts several of the most photographed and mesmerizing astronomical objects, from the famous Orion Nebula (M 42) to the Horsehead Nebula (IC 434). In the lower left we also see the reflection nebula M 78, also known as NGC 2068. The surrounding ring is the emission nebula known as Barnard's Loop. This is a mosaic of 9 photographs and a combination of RGB and H-alpha.Ocentejo, Castile-La Mancha Spain, 6 January 2019
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This image depicts several of the most photographed and mesmerizing astronomical objects, from the famous Orion Nebula (M 42) to the Horsehead Nebula (IC 434). In the lower left we also see the reflection nebula M 78, also known as NGC 2068. The surrounding ring is the emission nebula known as Barnard's Loop. This is a mosaic of 9 photographs and a combination of RGB and H-alpha.Ocentejo, Castile-La Mancha Spain, 6 January 2019
The image showcases the magnificent corona of the Moon and the motion of the clouds resembling colorful brushstrokes on a painting. The photographer used dozens of pictures to build a stack. For the photographer this is one of the most beautiful images of the brightest and largest object in our night sky and it resembles a seven-color feather growing out of the Moon.Dongguan, China, 28 July 2018
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The image showcases the magnificent corona of the Moon and the motion of the clouds resembling colorful brushstrokes on a painting. The photographer used dozens of pictures to build a stack. For the photographer this is one of the most beautiful images of the brightest and largest object in our night sky and it resembles a seven-color feather growing out of the Moon.Dongguan, China, 28 July 2018
This panorama was taken in the caves of Zaén, formed approximately 11 million years ago. With this image the photographer wanted to establish a link between nature, the universe and humanity through dark and light. With a Mini Maglite flashlight, the photographer illuminated the cave and the shot was planned with Planit! Pro to capture the Milky Way in the right place. The panoramic was formed by five shots, united with PTGui Pro, revealed in Lightroom and processed in Adobe Photoshop.Zaén, Murcia, Spain, 8 July 2018
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This panorama was taken in the caves of Zaén, formed approximately 11 million years ago. With this image the photographer wanted to establish a link between nature, the universe and humanity through dark and light. With a Mini Maglite flashlight, the photographer illuminated the cave and the shot was planned with Planit! Pro to capture the Milky Way in the right place. The panoramic was formed by five shots, united with PTGui Pro, revealed in Lightroom and processed in Adobe Photoshop.Zaén, Murcia, Spain, 8 July 2018
The galactic centre shines bright over the Davenport Pier. Built in the 1860s, the pier was a platform used for transporting timber north towards San Francisco. Long abandoned since then, the wharf eroded and today only the concrete arches that once held the pier have survived the test of time. Despite its proximity to urban areas, this stretch of the Pacific coast is sparsely populated and an excellent place to view and photograph the stars.Davenport, California, USA, 3 August 2018
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The galactic centre shines bright over the Davenport Pier. Built in the 1860s, the pier was a platform used for transporting timber north towards San Francisco. Long abandoned since then, the wharf eroded and today only the concrete arches that once held the pier have survived the test of time. Despite its proximity to urban areas, this stretch of the Pacific coast is sparsely populated and an excellent place to view and photograph the stars.Davenport, California, USA, 3 August 2018
Eye of Mordor: This stunning image is the result of narrowband data on the Helix Nebula, gathered over two months from suburban Melbourne, Australia
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Eye of Mordor: This stunning image is the result of narrowband data on the Helix Nebula, gathered over two months from suburban Melbourne, Australia
View gallery - 39 images

Now entering its 11th year, the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year is easily one of the world's most impressive annual astrophotography competitions. This year's shortlist highlights an exceptional variety of entries including an incredible nebulae shot reminiscent of the Eye of Mordor, and a series of gorgeous skyscapes.

The competition is run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, an iconic scientific site founded nearly 400 years ago. There are nine main categories in the massive competition with an overall winner receiving £10,000 (US$12,600).

The photographer has been wanting to get an image like this for years, but bright comets have been lacking. Then along came 46P/Wirtanen. The photographer used software to simulate the view and it showed that the comet would set over Loaf Mountain in the Bighorns at 3 a.m. on that particular night in early December. These mountains are often too windy for long exposures, but everything came together. Using a tracking mount, the photographer shot a 4-panel mosaic of the comet and two additional exposures of the snowy mountain and later combined everything together.Buffalo, Wyoming, USA, 7 December 2018
The photographer has been wanting to get an image like this for years, but bright comets have been lacking. Then along came 46P/Wirtanen. The photographer used software to simulate the view and it showed that the comet would set over Loaf Mountain in the Bighorns at 3 a.m. on that particular night in early December. These mountains are often too windy for long exposures, but everything came together. Using a tracking mount, the photographer shot a 4-panel mosaic of the comet and two additional exposures of the snowy mountain and later combined everything together.Buffalo, Wyoming, USA, 7 December 2018

Many of the shortlisted images required extraordinary dedication from photographers determined to trek to remote locations and wait hours for the perfect moment. Kevin Palmer's amazing shot of a comet over Loaf Mountain in the Bighorns (above) is a perfect example, requiring computer modeling to identify the perfect time and location, sending the photographer out into the wild at 3am on a frosty December night.

This image shows a solitary prominence on the limb of the solar disk. With minimum solar activity, prominences have become a main focus of interest in 2018. The photographer inverted the image during processing to show both the prominence and details of the chromosphere. The photograph consists of a stack of 70 per cent of the best 1,000 frames from an AVI shot at 40fps. The stack was generated using Autostakkert!, the ImPPG software was used for deconvolution, unsharpen masking and tone curve adjustment and Adobe Photoshop CC was used for false coloring and sharpening.Derby, UK, 8 July 2018
This image shows a solitary prominence on the limb of the solar disk. With minimum solar activity, prominences have become a main focus of interest in 2018. The photographer inverted the image during processing to show both the prominence and details of the chromosphere. The photograph consists of a stack of 70 per cent of the best 1,000 frames from an AVI shot at 40fps. The stack was generated using Autostakkert!, the ImPPG software was used for deconvolution, unsharpen masking and tone curve adjustment and Adobe Photoshop CC was used for false coloring and sharpening.Derby, UK, 8 July 2018

The winning images will be revealed at an award ceremony in mid-September.

Take a look through our gallery at all of the sublime shortlisted shots.

Source: Royal Museums Greenwich

View gallery - 39 images
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