Digital Cameras

Trip through the universe with the Astronomy Photographer of the Year winners

Trip through the universe with...
Overall winner, and winner of People and Space category: Transport The Soul, from Brad Goldpaint
Overall winner, and winner of People and Space category: Transport The Soul, from Brad Goldpaint
View 31 Images
Overall winner, and winner of People and Space category: Transport The Soul, from Brad Goldpaint
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Overall winner, and winner of People and Space category: Transport The Soul, from Brad Goldpaint
Highly Commended in People and Space, Mark McNeill says "This photograph was taken just after Christmas at the Sycamore Gap, Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland and showcases the majestic winter Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy. The temperature was about -4°C and the photographer arrived from Lancashire at 11am but had to wait till 2.30am for the Moon to set and for all the stars to be visible"
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Highly Commended in People and Space, Mark McNeill says "This photograph was taken just after Christmas at the Sycamore Gap, Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland and showcases the majestic winter Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy. The temperature was about -4°C and the photographer arrived from Lancashire at 11am but had to wait till 2.30am for the Moon to set and for all the stars to be visible"
Winner of the Young Photographer of the Year award, the young 15-year-old photographer captured this shot early on a Monday morning before going to school and completing an exam
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Winner of the Young Photographer of the Year award, the young 15-year-old photographer captured this shot early on a Monday morning before going to school and completing an exam
Runner-Up in the Aurorae category, Matthew James Turner's shot is of the Castlerigg Stone Circle in Cumbria, UK
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Runner-Up in the Aurorae category, Matthew James Turner's shot is of the Castlerigg Stone Circle in Cumbria, UK
Winner in the Aurorae category, Nicolas Lefaudeux describes his image as, "A hazy, subtle auroral band is leisurely drifting across the sky providing an unusual perspective with faint bands appearing to radiate from a vanishing point, like a road disappearing over the horizon."
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Winner in the Aurorae category, Nicolas Lefaudeux describes his image as, "A hazy, subtle auroral band is leisurely drifting across the sky providing an unusual perspective with faint bands appearing to radiate from a vanishing point, like a road disappearing over the horizon."
Highly Commended in the Aurorae category, this image was taken at Haukland Beach, Lofoten, Norway
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Highly Commended in the Aurorae category, this image was taken at Haukland Beach, Lofoten, Norway
Winner in the Skyscapes category, this amazing image is a composite of 50 300-second exposures showing the the circumpolar star Almach, also known as Gamma Andromedae, touching the horizon
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Winner in the Skyscapes category, this amazing image is a composite of 50 300-second exposures showing the the circumpolar star Almach, also known as Gamma Andromedae, touching the horizon
Runner-Up in Skyscapes. On 31 January 2018, a spectacular total lunar eclipse occurred. The photographer set his camera for a four-hour stack exposure and after he took about one thousand images, he finally captured an image that reflects the changes of the Moon's colour and brightness before, during and after the eclipse
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Runner-Up in Skyscapes. On 31 January 2018, a spectacular total lunar eclipse occurred. The photographer set his camera for a four-hour stack exposure and after he took about one thousand images, he finally captured an image that reflects the changes of the Moon's colour and brightness before, during and after the eclipse
Highly Commended in Skyscapes. The dark summer sky in Denmark and the ideal weather on 22 May 2017 allowed the photographer to capture this magnificent orange glow over Limfjord, a beautiful place just five minutes away from where the photographer had lived for six years
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Highly Commended in Skyscapes. The dark summer sky in Denmark and the ideal weather on 22 May 2017 allowed the photographer to capture this magnificent orange glow over Limfjord, a beautiful place just five minutes away from where the photographer had lived for six years
Runner-Up in People and Space. This is a single-frame image and not a speculative composite. Situated on a south-coast peninsula, this street falls within a part-night street lighting zone; when the lights go out, there's nothing to interfere with the view of the stars until continental Europe miles across the English Channel
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Runner-Up in People and Space. This is a single-frame image and not a speculative composite. Situated on a south-coast peninsula, this street falls within a part-night street lighting zone; when the lights go out, there's nothing to interfere with the view of the stars until continental Europe miles across the English Channel
Winner in the Our Sun category. In order to capture this mesmerizing image, the photographer chose the area according to weather forecasts to make sure he would get a clear sky. The image shows the Sun's corona in all its glory during the August total solar eclipse. It is flanked on the left hand side by the blue star Regulus – the little King – and by Mars on the right
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Winner in the Our Sun category. In order to capture this mesmerizing image, the photographer chose the area according to weather forecasts to make sure he would get a clear sky. The image shows the Sun's corona in all its glory during the August total solar eclipse. It is flanked on the left hand side by the blue star Regulus – the little King – and by Mars on the right
Runner-Up in the Our Sun category. In this image the photographer managed to capture an eruptive prominence just hours after this active region produced a massive X9.0 class solar flare. Close to the solar limb and presented here in an inverted format (black to white) and color enhanced to create a warm sunny glow, the photograph showcases the beautiful 3D structure within the hydrogen chromosphere
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Runner-Up in the Our Sun category. In this image the photographer managed to capture an eruptive prominence just hours after this active region produced a massive X9.0 class solar flare. Close to the solar limb and presented here in an inverted format (black to white) and color enhanced to create a warm sunny glow, the photograph showcases the beautiful 3D structure within the hydrogen chromosphere
Highly Commended in the Our Sun category. AR2673 is a large sunspot group which formed in 2017. Clearly visible is the beautiful “rice grain” structure of the paler, outer regions of the sunspots
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Highly Commended in the Our Sun category. AR2673 is a large sunspot group which formed in 2017. Clearly visible is the beautiful “rice grain” structure of the paler, outer regions of the sunspots
Winner in the Our Moon category. This image is titled Inverted Colours of the boundary between Mare Serenitatis and Mare Tranquilitatis
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Winner in the Our Moon category. This image is titled Inverted Colours of the boundary between Mare Serenitatis and Mare Tranquilitatis
Runner-Up in Our Moon. During a total solar eclipse the brightness of the solar corona hides details of the Moon to the human eye. But by layering multiple digital exposures in this image from two seconds to 1/2000th of a second, the photographer managed to reveal much more. The image showcases not just the brilliant solar corona, but the newest possible of new moons, seen here illuminated by sunlight reflecting off the Earth
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Runner-Up in Our Moon. During a total solar eclipse the brightness of the solar corona hides details of the Moon to the human eye. But by layering multiple digital exposures in this image from two seconds to 1/2000th of a second, the photographer managed to reveal much more. The image showcases not just the brilliant solar corona, but the newest possible of new moons, seen here illuminated by sunlight reflecting off the Earth
Highly Commended in Our Moon. The waning crescent Moon only rises high above the horizon of the Carpathian basin in autumn, but in this period of the year the weather is usually cloudy and rainy. Fortunately, in October 2017, an anticyclone wiped the area clear, which allowed the photographer to take a good-resolution picture capturing the special atmosphere of the thin crescent in a glitteringly bright sky
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Highly Commended in Our Moon. The waning crescent Moon only rises high above the horizon of the Carpathian basin in autumn, but in this period of the year the weather is usually cloudy and rainy. Fortunately, in October 2017, an anticyclone wiped the area clear, which allowed the photographer to take a good-resolution picture capturing the special atmosphere of the thin crescent in a glitteringly bright sky
Winner in the Galaxies category. The spiral galaxy NGC 3521 is located around 26 million light-years away in the constellation Leo and presents a complex scene, with enormous amounts of surrounding dust and stray stars glowing far out from its disk. This image comprises approximately 20.5 hours of exposure time, collecting data in various filter types
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Winner in the Galaxies category. The spiral galaxy NGC 3521 is located around 26 million light-years away in the constellation Leo and presents a complex scene, with enormous amounts of surrounding dust and stray stars glowing far out from its disk. This image comprises approximately 20.5 hours of exposure time, collecting data in various filter types
Runner-Up in the Galaxies category. This photograph is a mosaic of 24 images and depicts how the galaxies Messier 31 and Messier 33 appear symmetrically on either side of the star Mirach. Despite being the two galaxies closest to our own, they are still significantly further away from us than Mirach, which is a star within our own Milky Way. We can also see the two smaller satellite galaxies of M31, M32 and M110
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Runner-Up in the Galaxies category. This photograph is a mosaic of 24 images and depicts how the galaxies Messier 31 and Messier 33 appear symmetrically on either side of the star Mirach. Despite being the two galaxies closest to our own, they are still significantly further away from us than Mirach, which is a star within our own Milky Way. We can also see the two smaller satellite galaxies of M31, M32 and M110
Highly Commended in the Galaxies category. This image showcases the open cluster of stars NGC 6939 and the galaxy NGC 6949 with the stellar explosion of the supernova SN 2017 EAW. The data gathering for this image was carried out over a few different days and the photographer tried to obtain sharp details as well as some of the ‘foggy’ background light
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Highly Commended in the Galaxies category. This image showcases the open cluster of stars NGC 6939 and the galaxy NGC 6949 with the stellar explosion of the supernova SN 2017 EAW. The data gathering for this image was carried out over a few different days and the photographer tried to obtain sharp details as well as some of the ‘foggy’ background light
Winner in the Planets, Comets and Asteroids category. Shortly before sunset, a slender and graceful Venus hangs low in the western sky, just 10 days before meeting the Sun at inferior conjunction. This is an infra-red image of that view, taken using a monochrome digital video camera mounted on a reflector telescope
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Winner in the Planets, Comets and Asteroids category. Shortly before sunset, a slender and graceful Venus hangs low in the western sky, just 10 days before meeting the Sun at inferior conjunction. This is an infra-red image of that view, taken using a monochrome digital video camera mounted on a reflector telescope
Runner-Up in the Planets, Comets and Asteroids category. During the course of just one year the photographer managed to image surface details on every planet in our Solar System from his own back garden
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Runner-Up in the Planets, Comets and Asteroids category. During the course of just one year the photographer managed to image surface details on every planet in our Solar System from his own back garden
Highly Commended in the Planets, Comets and Asteroids category. Still relatively far from the Sun, the comet's well-developed ion tail shines bright in the night sky. Emissions from unusually abundant ionized carbon monoxide (CO+) molecules fluorescing in the increasing sunlight is largely responsible for the beautiful blue tint
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Highly Commended in the Planets, Comets and Asteroids category. Still relatively far from the Sun, the comet's well-developed ion tail shines bright in the night sky. Emissions from unusually abundant ionized carbon monoxide (CO+) molecules fluorescing in the increasing sunlight is largely responsible for the beautiful blue tint
Winner in the Stars and Nebulae category. Under the dark Namibian sky, the photographer set his camera to a six-hour exposure in order to capture the CrA Molecular Complex, a large, dark and irregular area in the northern part of Corona Australis where we can see reflection nebulas NGC 6726-27-29, dark dust cloud Bernes 157, globular cluster NGC 6723 and other objects
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Winner in the Stars and Nebulae category. Under the dark Namibian sky, the photographer set his camera to a six-hour exposure in order to capture the CrA Molecular Complex, a large, dark and irregular area in the northern part of Corona Australis where we can see reflection nebulas NGC 6726-27-29, dark dust cloud Bernes 157, globular cluster NGC 6723 and other objects
Runner-Up in the Stars and Nebulae category. The dark Namibian sky was the perfect location to capture the wonder of the Witch Head Nebula and Rigel. The Witch Head Nebula is a very faint molecular gas cloud which is illuminated by supergiant star Rigel, the seventh brightest star of the sky and the brightest star in the constellation of Orion
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Runner-Up in the Stars and Nebulae category. The dark Namibian sky was the perfect location to capture the wonder of the Witch Head Nebula and Rigel. The Witch Head Nebula is a very faint molecular gas cloud which is illuminated by supergiant star Rigel, the seventh brightest star of the sky and the brightest star in the constellation of Orion
Highly Commended in the Stars and Nebulae category. Almost 5,900 light years away, toward the southern constellation Centaurus, lies a large beautiful nebula known as the Lambda Centauri Nebula. The intense light from stars in a young open cluster cause the surrounding gas to glow with a magenta hue from emission lines of ionized Hydrogen atoms. In the center of the image is a group of Bok globules, which are dark, dense collapsing patches of gas and dust where new stars are frequently born
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Highly Commended in the Stars and Nebulae category. Almost 5,900 light years away, toward the southern constellation Centaurus, lies a large beautiful nebula known as the Lambda Centauri Nebula. The intense light from stars in a young open cluster cause the surrounding gas to glow with a magenta hue from emission lines of ionized Hydrogen atoms. In the center of the image is a group of Bok globules, which are dark, dense collapsing patches of gas and dust where new stars are frequently born
Runner-Up in the Young Photographer category. From 13-year-old Logan Nicholson, the Eta Carina Nebula, or NGC 3372, is the biggest and brightest nebula in the sky and is located in the constellation Carina. It is mostly made out of hydrogen, created when the bright orange star mid-left went nova, spewing out large amounts of hydrogen gas which now emits light at the Hydrogen-alpha wavelength
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Runner-Up in the Young Photographer category. From 13-year-old Logan Nicholson, the Eta Carina Nebula, or NGC 3372, is the biggest and brightest nebula in the sky and is located in the constellation Carina. It is mostly made out of hydrogen, created when the bright orange star mid-left went nova, spewing out large amounts of hydrogen gas which now emits light at the Hydrogen-alpha wavelength
Highly Commended in the Young Photographer category. Ten-year-old Davy van der Hoeven, after lessons from his father, ended up taking better pictures of the Moon than his old man
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Highly Commended in the Young Photographer category. Ten-year-old Davy van der Hoeven, after lessons from his father, ended up taking better pictures of the Moon than his old man
Highly Commended in the Young Photographer category. Eight-year-old Casper Kentish took this with the help of his grandfather and a new telescope
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Highly Commended in the Young Photographer category. Eight-year-old Casper Kentish took this with the help of his grandfather and a new telescope
Highly Commended in the Young Photographer category. This was 11-year-old Thea Hutchinson's first attempt at solar imaging and was from the observatory in her back garden in Wimbledon
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Highly Commended in the Young Photographer category. This was 11-year-old Thea Hutchinson's first attempt at solar imaging and was from the observatory in her back garden in Wimbledon
Best Newcomer Award went to Chinese photographer Tianhong Li. This was the last opportunity in 2017 to see the silver core of the Milky Way before it sunk below the horizon. It was accompanied by the gradual curtain call of Scorpio heralding the upward trend of Orion in the sky. Meanwhile, the season of bright shooting stars quietly arrived. The image is stitched together from a total of 20 pictures
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Best Newcomer Award went to Chinese photographer Tianhong Li. This was the last opportunity in 2017 to see the silver core of the Milky Way before it sunk below the horizon. It was accompanied by the gradual curtain call of Scorpio heralding the upward trend of Orion in the sky. Meanwhile, the season of bright shooting stars quietly arrived. The image is stitched together from a total of 20 pictures
Best image taken with a robotic scope went to Damian Peach. The image showcases a very rare conjunction of two bright comets both passing the famous Pleiades star cluster in Taurus at the same time. Comet C/2017 O1 (ASASSN) is at far left, while C2015 ER61 (PanSTARRS) is in the center. Both comets have strikingly different appearances. The whole region is embedded in the faint nebulosity of the Taurus Molecular Cloud. The photographer used a remote telescope located in Mayhill, New Mexico
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Best image taken with a robotic scope went to Damian Peach. The image showcases a very rare conjunction of two bright comets both passing the famous Pleiades star cluster in Taurus at the same time. Comet C/2017 O1 (ASASSN) is at far left, while C2015 ER61 (PanSTARRS) is in the center. Both comets have strikingly different appearances. The whole region is embedded in the faint nebulosity of the Taurus Molecular Cloud. The photographer used a remote telescope located in Mayhill, New Mexico

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."

Highly Commended in People and Space, Mark McNeill says "This photograph was taken just after Christmas at the Sycamore Gap, Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland and showcases the majestic winter Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy. The temperature was about -4°C and the photographer arrived from Lancashire at 11am but had to wait till 2.30am for the Moon to set and for all the stars to be visible"
Highly Commended in People and Space, Mark McNeill says "This photograph was taken just after Christmas at the Sycamore Gap, Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland and showcases the majestic winter Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy. The temperature was about -4°C and the photographer arrived from Lancashire at 11am but had to wait till 2.30am for the Moon to set and for all the stars to be visible"

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.

Winner in the Our Sun category. In order to capture this mesmerizing image, the photographer chose the area according to weather forecasts to make sure he would get a clear sky. The image shows the Sun's corona in all its glory during the August total solar eclipse. It is flanked on the left hand side by the blue star Regulus – the little King – and by Mars on the right
Winner in the Our Sun category. In order to capture this mesmerizing image, the photographer chose the area according to weather forecasts to make sure he would get a clear sky. The image shows the Sun's corona in all its glory during the August total solar eclipse. It is flanked on the left hand side by the blue star Regulus – the little King – and by Mars on the right

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.

Runner-Up in Skyscapes. On 31 January 2018, a spectacular total lunar eclipse occurred. The photographer set his camera for a four-hour stack exposure and after he took about one thousand images, he finally captured an image that reflects the changes of the Moon's colour and brightness before, during and after the eclipse
Runner-Up in Skyscapes. On 31 January 2018, a spectacular total lunar eclipse occurred. The photographer set his camera for a four-hour stack exposure and after he took about one thousand images, he finally captured an image that reflects the changes of the Moon's colour and brightness before, during and after the eclipse

Check out all the awe-inspiring winning and highly commended images in our gallery.

Source: Royal Museums Greenwich

2 comments
ljaques
I can understand the dilemma of the judges. So many truly stunning photos made the final, to choose these 31 must have been very hard. I think the first several Highly Commended shots should have been winners, though. Just WOW!
LenaHRethman
I can understand the dilemma of the judges. So many truly stunning photos made the final, to choose these 31 must have been very hard. I think the first several Highly Commended shots should have been winners, though. Just WOW!