The winners of the incredible Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards have been revealed showing off spectacular work from the world's best astrophotographers. The top prize this year was given to American photographer Brad Goldpaint for his sublime shot of a lone photographer capturing the Milky Way in Moab, Utah.
Goldpaint's magnificent photograph won him a £10,000 (US$12,800) top prize, with Will Gater, one of the judges, commenting, "For me this superb image is emblematic of everything it means to be an astrophotographer; the balance between light and dark, the contrasting textures and tones of land and sky and the photographer alone under a starry canopy of breathtaking scale and beauty."
The competition, run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, in association with Insight Investment and BBC Sky at Night Magazine, is in its 10th year with this round bringing in over 4,200 entries from 91 countries. Open to both professional and amateur photographers, there are eight main categories in the competition, including Galaxies, the Moon, the Sun, Aurorae, and Skyscapes.
A Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year category is also a significant part of the competition, focusing on the incredible skills of astrophotographers aged 15 years and younger. Fifteen-year-old Fabian Dalpiaz from Italy took the top £1,500 (US$1,900) prize in this category for his striking snap (below) of the Alpe di Siusi in Italy. The gorgeous composition indulges in the autumnal colors of the landscape while capturing a passing meteor trail in the sky.
"With a competition that keeps on flourishing over the years, the growing community of amateur astrophotographers have time after time surprised us with technically accomplished, playfully imaginative and astoundingly beautiful images that sit at the intersection of art and science," says Melanie Vandenbrouck, a curator at Royal Museums Greenwich and judge in this year's competition. "This year did not disappoint. To pick just 31 winners from the 134 shortlisted images was fiendishly difficult!"
Other highlights in the jaw-dropping competition include a mind-bending shot of a solar eclipse, an eerie yet beautiful image of a silhouetted figure looking out to the cosmos, and a unique view of the aurora borealis in the UK filled with unusual colors.
A book featuring all this year's winners and shortlisted entries is available at Royal Museums Greenwich, and if you're in the UK you can see all the best images from this, and previous years, in a special exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in London.
Check out all the awe-inspiring winning and highly commended images in our gallery.
Source: Royal Museums Greenwich
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