Space

Look to the skies with the 2019 Astronomy Photographer of the Year winners

Look to the skies with the 201...
Cosmic Plughole, Highly Commended in the People And Space category. This image is a stacked star trail, combined to show an hour and a quarter of the Earth's rotation through space and time
Cosmic Plughole, Highly Commended in the People And Space category. This image is a stacked star trail, combined to show an hour and a quarter of the Earth's rotation through space and time
View 31 Images
The Return of Green Lady, Highly Commended in the Aurorae category. When the photographer arrived at the Limfjord, he wasn't expecting to capture any aurora due to the strong light from the full Moon but he was pleasantly surprised when a green cast appeared on the camera screen. Nykøbing Mors, Nordjylland, Denmark
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The Return of Green Lady, Highly Commended in the Aurorae category. When the photographer arrived at the Limfjord, he wasn't expecting to capture any aurora due to the strong light from the full Moon but he was pleasantly surprised when a green cast appeared on the camera screen. Nykøbing Mors, Nordjylland, Denmark
Aurora Australis from Beerbarrel Beach, Runner-Up in the Aurorae category. 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 center of the image. St Helens, Tasmania, Australia
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Aurora Australis from Beerbarrel Beach, Runner-Up in the Aurorae category. 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 center of the image. St Helens, Tasmania, Australia
The Watcher, Winner of the Aurorae category. The photographer hiked in the snow to the top of the mountain Offersøykammen in Norway, to witness and capture the breathtaking giant aurora over the Lofoten Islands. He waited many hours and after midnight the bright Northern Lights finally appeared. Lofoten, Norway
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The Watcher, Winner of the Aurorae category. The photographer hiked in the snow to the top of the mountain Offersøykammen in Norway, to witness and capture the breathtaking giant aurora over the Lofoten Islands. He waited many hours and after midnight the bright Northern Lights finally appeared. Lofoten, Norway
Sky and Ground, Stars and Sand, Joint Winner in the Best Newcomer category. The Moon was shining bright over the sand dunes in north-central China, when the photographer decided to capture this image with a friend. Ningxia, China
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Sky and Ground, Stars and Sand, Joint Winner in the Best Newcomer category. The Moon was shining bright over the sand dunes in north-central China, when the photographer decided to capture this image with a friend. Ningxia, China
The Jewels of Orion, Joint Winner in the Best Newcomer category. This strip of the Orion constellation includes some of the best targets in the Northern Hemisphere. The image is a mosaic of two panes at 200 mm. Both panes were stacked in PixInsight, and have same basic early processing of gradient removal and color calibration. Both images were then transferred and stitched together in Photoshop with further work done to reduce noise, bring out the dust and control the stars’ size and color. Embleton, Northumberland
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The Jewels of Orion, Joint Winner in the Best Newcomer category. This strip of the Orion constellation includes some of the best targets in the Northern Hemisphere. The image is a mosaic of two panes at 200 mm. Both panes were stacked in PixInsight, and have same basic early processing of gradient removal and color calibration. Both images were then transferred and stitched together in Photoshop with further work done to reduce noise, bring out the dust and control the stars’ size and color. Embleton, Northumberland
Andromeda Galaxy, Highly Commended in the Galaxies category. This is a close-up of our neighboring Andromeda Galaxy made with a mosaic of three photographs. The image also depicts the satellite galaxies, Messier 32 and Messier 110, which are found in the constellation of Andromeda and are approaching our galaxy at about 300 km per second. Ocentejo, Castile-La Mancha, Spain
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Andromeda Galaxy, Highly Commended in the Galaxies category. This is a close-up of our neighboring Andromeda Galaxy made with a mosaic of three photographs. The image also depicts the satellite galaxies, Messier 32 and Messier 110, which are found in the constellation of Andromeda and are approaching our galaxy at about 300 km per second. Ocentejo, Castile-La Mancha, Spain
Shells of Elliptical Galaxy NGC 3923 in Hydra, Winner in the Galaxies category. This is a deep image of the peculiar, elliptical galaxy NGC 3923. The galaxy features myriad concentric shells as a result of past mergers with other nearby galaxies. Auckland, New Zealand
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Shells of Elliptical Galaxy NGC 3923 in Hydra, Winner in the Galaxies category. This is a deep image of the peculiar, elliptical galaxy NGC 3923. The galaxy features myriad concentric shells as a result of past mergers with other nearby galaxies. Auckland, New Zealand
Crescent Moon During the Day, Runner-Up in the Our Moon category. The image depicts the lunar craters of the waxing crescent of the Moon, with the blue sky of the day as a backdrop. During processing, focus has been added and the light levels adjusted. Morella, Castellón, Spain
8/31
Crescent Moon During the Day, Runner-Up in the Our Moon category. The image depicts the lunar craters of the waxing crescent of the Moon, with the blue sky of the day as a backdrop. During processing, focus has been added and the light levels adjusted. Morella, Castellón, Spain
Into the Shadow, Overall Winner and Winner in the Our Moon category. This image showcases the 35 phases of the total lunar eclipse on 21 January in one photograph. The phases were so close together that they blended perfectly in a continuous image that captured the shadow of the Earth. Budapest, Hungary
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Into the Shadow, Overall Winner and Winner in the Our Moon category. This image showcases the 35 phases of the total lunar eclipse on 21 January in one photograph. The phases were so close together that they blended perfectly in a continuous image that captured the shadow of the Earth. Budapest, Hungary
The Sun – Atmospheric Detail, Highly Commended in the Our Sun category. This view shows the solar chromosphere in the H-alpha wavelength, complete with a prominence visible at the edge. This image was shot through a monochromatic H-alpha filter, then it was colorized to give the impression of the view through Earth's atmosphere. Milford, Michigan, USA
10/31
The Sun – Atmospheric Detail, Highly Commended in the Our Sun category. This view shows the solar chromosphere in the H-alpha wavelength, complete with a prominence visible at the edge. This image was shot through a monochromatic H-alpha filter, then it was colorized to give the impression of the view through Earth's atmosphere. Milford, Michigan, USA
The Active Area AR12714, Runner-Up in the Our Sun category. The image showcases a sunspot in the growing active region 12714 and reveals dramatic plasma dynamics, with the different tones of color representing the varying plasma temperature. It was shot in hydrogen-alpha frequency and is an inverted version, processed in false colors. The photographer shot many high-speed exposures and stacked them to achieve a clear final image of the dynamic plasma. Bucharest, Romania
11/31
The Active Area AR12714, Runner-Up in the Our Sun category. The image showcases a sunspot in the growing active region 12714 and reveals dramatic plasma dynamics, with the different tones of color representing the varying plasma temperature. It was shot in hydrogen-alpha frequency and is an inverted version, processed in false colors. The photographer shot many high-speed exposures and stacked them to achieve a clear final image of the dynamic plasma. Bucharest, Romania
A Little Fireworks, Winner in the Our Sun category. A close-up of the solar limb with what looks like fireworks in the solar minimum period of the Sun’s cycle. A group of prominences are silhouetted against the background of space. Buffalo, New York
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A Little Fireworks, Winner in the Our Sun category. A close-up of the solar limb with what looks like fireworks in the solar minimum period of the Sun’s cycle. A group of prominences are silhouetted against the background of space. Buffalo, New York
Cosmic Plughole, Highly Commended in the People And Space category. This image is a stacked star trail, combined to show an hour and a quarter of the Earth's rotation through space and time
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Cosmic Plughole, Highly Commended in the People And Space category. This image is a stacked star trail, combined to show an hour and a quarter of the Earth's rotation through space and time
Above the Tower, Runner-Up in the People And Space category. The International Space Station (ISS) is flying over Horton Tower in Dorset on a misty evening. During the two exposures shot for the sky, the photographer was able to perfectly capture the ISS fly directly over the tower. This image is comprised of a long 2-minute exposure for the foreground and then blended with the two tracked 60-second exposures for the night sky. Wimborne, Dorset, UK
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Above the Tower, Runner-Up in the People And Space category. The International Space Station (ISS) is flying over Horton Tower in Dorset on a misty evening. During the two exposures shot for the sky, the photographer was able to perfectly capture the ISS fly directly over the tower. This image is comprised of a long 2-minute exposure for the foreground and then blended with the two tracked 60-second exposures for the night sky. Wimborne, Dorset, UK
Ben, Floyd and the Core, Winner in the People And Space category. The image depicts the photographer and his dog, Floyd, surrounded by Mars, Saturn and the galactic core of the Milky Way galaxy. Hadrian’s Wall, Hexham, UK
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Ben, Floyd and the Core, Winner in the People And Space category. The image depicts the photographer and his dog, Floyd, surrounded by Mars, Saturn and the galactic core of the Milky Way galaxy. Hadrian’s Wall, Hexham, UK
Black Saturn, Highly Commended in the Planets, Comets And Asteroids category. This image was taken on a warm and steady night in August using a methane band filter to reveal, as dark bands, the high concentrations of this gas in Saturn’s atmosphere. St Albans, Hertfordshire, UK
16/31
Black Saturn, Highly Commended in the Planets, Comets And Asteroids category. This image was taken on a warm and steady night in August using a methane band filter to reveal, as dark bands, the high concentrations of this gas in Saturn’s atmosphere. St Albans, Hertfordshire, UK
Jupiter Unravelled, Runner-Up in the Planets, Comets And Asteroids category. This view of Jupiter shows the entire face of the planet close to its opposition of 2018. Storms of all shapes and sizes can be seen, along with the famous Great Red Spot near the center
17/31
Jupiter Unravelled, Runner-Up in the Planets, Comets And Asteroids category. This view of Jupiter shows the entire face of the planet close to its opposition of 2018. Storms of all shapes and sizes can be seen, along with the famous Great Red Spot near the center
Death of Opportunity, Winner in the Planets, Comets And Asteroids category. This is a sequence of images through the perihelic opposition of Mars in 2018 that follows the progress of the great global dust storm. The first frame (26 May) precedes the storm, with clouds on volcanoes in the Martian spring. The storm rapidly grew from regional to global coverage between 6 and 11 June (second and third frames), obscuring Opportunity, and only the Tharsis volcanoes were peeking out by 3 July. Sydney, Australia
18/31
Death of Opportunity, Winner in the Planets, Comets And Asteroids category. This is a sequence of images through the perihelic opposition of Mars in 2018 that follows the progress of the great global dust storm. The first frame (26 May) precedes the storm, with clouds on volcanoes in the Martian spring. The storm rapidly grew from regional to global coverage between 6 and 11 June (second and third frames), obscuring Opportunity, and only the Tharsis volcanoes were peeking out by 3 July. Sydney, Australia
Infrared Saturn, Winner in the Robotic Scope category. With this image, the photographer decided to take on the challenge of revealing the very near infrared colors of Saturn, using the combination of the red and other two infrared planetary filters, the IR 685 and the IR 742, respectively
19/31
Infrared Saturn, Winner in the Robotic Scope category. With this image, the photographer decided to take on the challenge of revealing the very near infrared colors of Saturn, using the combination of the red and other two infrared planetary filters, the IR 685 and the IR 742, respectively
Seven-colour Feather of the Moon, Highly Commended in the Our Moon category. 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
20/31
Seven-colour Feather of the Moon, Highly Commended in the Our Moon category. 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
Flower Power, Highly Commended in the Skyscapes category. The exhaust plume from the Falcon 9 rocket launch took on the shape of a flower during this stage of the launch. This photograph was taken with a 50 mm lens which provided a much closer and detailed view. This shot consists of two exposures blended; one for the foreground and one for the sky, with no movement of the camera in between exposures. Aspendell, California
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Flower Power, Highly Commended in the Skyscapes category. The exhaust plume from the Falcon 9 rocket launch took on the shape of a flower during this stage of the launch. This photograph was taken with a 50 mm lens which provided a much closer and detailed view. This shot consists of two exposures blended; one for the foreground and one for the sky, with no movement of the camera in between exposures. Aspendell, California
Galactic Lighthouse, Runner-Up in the Skyscapes category. This photo shows Orion setting over Hirtshals Lighthouse in northern Denmark. Hirtshals, Vendsyssel, Denmark
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Galactic Lighthouse, Runner-Up in the Skyscapes category. This photo shows Orion setting over Hirtshals Lighthouse in northern Denmark. Hirtshals, Vendsyssel, Denmark
Across the Sky of History, Winner in the Skyscapes category. This mystical image of withered poplar trees was taken in the Mongolian region of Ejina, in the historical Kingdom of Xi Xia. Ejina, Inner Mongolia, China
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Across the Sky of History, Winner in the Skyscapes category. This mystical image of withered poplar trees was taken in the Mongolian region of Ejina, in the historical Kingdom of Xi Xia. Ejina, Inner Mongolia, China
The Elegant Elephant's Trunk, Highly Commended in the Stars And Nebulae category. The Elephant Trunk Nebula (vdB 142) is part of a region of star formation that lies 2,450 light years away in the constellation of Cepheus. The photo was taken with only the three RGB channels, and the luminance is the result of the RGB. Àger, Spain
24/31
The Elegant Elephant's Trunk, Highly Commended in the Stars And Nebulae category. The Elephant Trunk Nebula (vdB 142) is part of a region of star formation that lies 2,450 light years away in the constellation of Cepheus. The photo was taken with only the three RGB channels, and the luminance is the result of the RGB. Àger, Spain
A Horsehead Curtain Call, Runner-Up in the Stars And Nebulae category. The dark Horsehead Nebula silhouetted by the background hydrogen curtains. In this two-panel mosaic, the narrowband hydrogen-alpha filter shows both strong and delicate detail with stunning contrast. The Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33) is very difficult to see, even with very large telescopes. Chino Valley, Arizona, USA
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A Horsehead Curtain Call, Runner-Up in the Stars And Nebulae category. The dark Horsehead Nebula silhouetted by the background hydrogen curtains. In this two-panel mosaic, the narrowband hydrogen-alpha filter shows both strong and delicate detail with stunning contrast. The Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33) is very difficult to see, even with very large telescopes. Chino Valley, Arizona, USA
Hydrogen Sculptures in The Large Magellanic Cloud, Runner-Up in the Galaxies category. This high definition hydrogen-alpha image of the Large Magellanic Cloud showcases the more active parts of the neighboring galaxy, in terms of hydrogen atoms ionized by energetic stars. Most prominent is the Tarantula Nebula in the bottom right corner, with its stormy, spider-like core, surrounded by arch-like filaments. General Pacheco, Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Hydrogen Sculptures in The Large Magellanic Cloud, Runner-Up in the Galaxies category. This high definition hydrogen-alpha image of the Large Magellanic Cloud showcases the more active parts of the neighboring galaxy, in terms of hydrogen atoms ionized by energetic stars. Most prominent is the Tarantula Nebula in the bottom right corner, with its stormy, spider-like core, surrounded by arch-like filaments. General Pacheco, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Daytime Venus, Highly Commended in the Young Astronomy Photographer category. This image of the brightest planet in our solar system was shot in daylight using an IR pass filter for the luminance and red channels, a Baader UV filter for the blue channel and the green channel is a 50% blend of the IR and UV images. London, UK
27/31
Daytime Venus, Highly Commended in the Young Astronomy Photographer category. This image of the brightest planet in our solar system was shot in daylight using an IR pass filter for the luminance and red channels, a Baader UV filter for the blue channel and the green channel is a 50% blend of the IR and UV images. London, UK
M31 Andromeda Galaxy, Highly Commended in the Young Astronomer Photographer category. The Andromeda Galaxy, over 2.5 million light years away, is the nearest galaxy that is moving towards us, giving rise to the powerful blue color created by the Doppler effect. Goult, France
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M31 Andromeda Galaxy, Highly Commended in the Young Astronomer Photographer category. The Andromeda Galaxy, over 2.5 million light years away, is the nearest galaxy that is moving towards us, giving rise to the powerful blue color created by the Doppler effect. Goult, France
Van Eyck's Moon, Highly Commended in the Young Astronomy Photographer category. The image is based on the painting "The Crucifixion; The Last Judgment, ca. 1440–41", by Jan van Eyck, where a daytime Gibbous Moon is rising over Jerusalem. The photographer did some prior research to find out when the Moon would be at the right phase during the day and set his telescope up the night before. Ponthirwaun Ceredigion, Wales
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Van Eyck's Moon, Highly Commended in the Young Astronomy Photographer category. The image is based on the painting "The Crucifixion; The Last Judgment, ca. 1440–41", by Jan van Eyck, where a daytime Gibbous Moon is rising over Jerusalem. The photographer did some prior research to find out when the Moon would be at the right phase during the day and set his telescope up the night before. Ponthirwaun Ceredigion, Wales
AR 12699 Sunspot, Runner-Up in the Young Astronomy Photographer category. To capture this sunspot, the photographer took a video first, then ran it through AS!3 software, and finally sharpened it in RegiStax, making some additional edits
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AR 12699 Sunspot, Runner-Up in the Young Astronomy Photographer category. To capture this sunspot, the photographer took a video first, then ran it through AS!3 software, and finally sharpened it in RegiStax, making some additional edits
Stellar Flower, Winner in the Young Astronomy Photographer category. Once the photographer decided to capture a deep sky image, he started researching online for nebulae and came across the magnificent Rosette Nebula. Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht, South Holland, Netherlands
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Stellar Flower, Winner in the Young Astronomy Photographer category. Once the photographer decided to capture a deep sky image, he started researching online for nebulae and came across the magnificent Rosette Nebula. Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht, South Holland, Netherlands

The winners of the 2019 Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year have been announced, and this genuinely mind-expanding assortment of images affirm the contest as the world’s top astrophotography competition. From novel explorations of our Moon to incredible perspectives on distant galaxies, this year’s winners offer a fantastically diverse selection of photographs.

From a record number of 4,600 entries, this year’s overall prize went to Hungarian photographer László Francsics for his creatively compelling depiction of a total lunar eclipse. Winning £10,000 (US$12,450), the photograph entitled Into The Shadow stacked 35 separate photos together to chronicle the various phases of a lunar eclipse in one continuous image.

Into the Shadow, Overall Winner and Winner in the Our Moon category. This image showcases the 35 phases of the total lunar eclipse on 21 January in one photograph. The phases were so close together that they blended perfectly in a continuous image that captured the shadow of the Earth. Budapest, Hungary
Into the Shadow, Overall Winner and Winner in the Our Moon category. This image showcases the 35 phases of the total lunar eclipse on 21 January in one photograph. The phases were so close together that they blended perfectly in a continuous image that captured the shadow of the Earth. Budapest, Hungary

“For a single multiple-exposure image to capture this event with such positional precision, creative innovation and beauty is nothing short of masterful,” says Ed Robinson, one of this year’s competition judges. “The colors of our atmosphere projected onto the Moon’s disc during the eclipse are not only artistically pleasing but also offer an understanding of such events that can reveal aspects of our own, thin, yet essential part of our atmosphere.”

The competition spans eight major categories, covering topics such as Galaxies, the Moon and the Sun. Extra awards are offered to young photographers and the best newcomer.

A Little Fireworks, Winner in the Our Sun category. A close-up of the solar limb with what looks like fireworks in the solar minimum period of the Sun’s cycle. A group of prominences are silhouetted against the background of space. Buffalo, New York
A Little Fireworks, Winner in the Our Sun category. A close-up of the solar limb with what looks like fireworks in the solar minimum period of the Sun’s cycle. A group of prominences are silhouetted against the background of space. Buffalo, New York

Other extraordinary winners in this year’s competition include a fascinating sequence of images depicting a global dust storm across Mars, several surreal perspectives on the Sun, and a one-of-a-kind shot capturing the flower-shaped exhaust plume of the Falcon 9 rocket during a launch late in 2018.

Flower Power, Highly Commended in the Skyscapes category. The exhaust plume from the Falcon 9 rocket launch took on the shape of a flower during this stage of the launch. This photograph was taken with a 50 mm lens which provided a much closer and detailed view. This shot consists of two exposures blended; one for the foreground and one for the sky, with no movement of the camera in between exposures. Aspendell, California
Flower Power, Highly Commended in the Skyscapes category. The exhaust plume from the Falcon 9 rocket launch took on the shape of a flower during this stage of the launch. This photograph was taken with a 50 mm lens which provided a much closer and detailed view. This shot consists of two exposures blended; one for the foreground and one for the sky, with no movement of the camera in between exposures. Aspendell, California

“This year’s selection contains so many unique approaches to astrophotography – real love letters to the art form, which stay with you long after you’ve seen them,” says Tom Kerss, another judge in this year’s competition, and an astronomer at the UK’s Royal Observatory. “I’m looking forward to the discussions these images will inspire about our shared sky, and the ever-expanding field of capturing and interpreting it. With such a beautiful collection to talk about, the competition really has become astrophotography’s ‘World Cup’.”

Take a look through our spectacular gallery featuring all this year’s winning photographs.

Source: Royal Museums Greenwich

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