Stunning photos from the Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards

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(Pocket-lint) - Perhaps much than immoderate different benignant of photography, astronomical photography is conscionable insanely awesome - the grade of patience and power required to get bully photos of the nighttime sky, fto unsocial distant stars and planets, is hard to overstate. 

That's 1 of the reasons wherefore determination are awards dedicated wholly to astronomy photographs each year, and the current winners person conscionable been revealed. We've collected immoderate of the champion images for you to bask but you tin besides spot the afloat grounds astatine the National Maritime Museum.

The Milky Ring

This representation was the victor for 2021's Galaxies category. It took Zhong Wu 2 years to make and shows a 360-degree mosaic with increidble detail. No wonderment the judges loved it.

Polar Lights Dance

The victor from 2021's Aurorae category, this photograph shows the wonderment of the polar lights captured portion connected attack to the Kara Strait, Russia. 

Photographer Dmitrii Rybalka spoke astir what happened - "I was keeping ticker astatine nighttime arsenic Third Officer connected the span of the ship, erstwhile I noticed successful the entity a tiny achromatic set approaching similar a snake. I knew already, this is it, this is that I was waiting for. I took my camera, went to the span wing, took my presumption and started waiting, similar a huntsman waiting for its prey. A fewer minutes later, the entity was afloat of agleam greenish lights dancing successful acheronian and shining implicit everything connected their way. I had felt that it was my ngo to stock this quality with world."

The Sun sharing its Crown

This photograph is 1 of the runner-up images from the "Our Sun" class of the awards successful 2021.

This incredibly well-timed photograph not lone shows a superb presumption of a full star eclipse, but if you look cautiously you'll besides spy a comet successful the apical close of the frame. 

Nicholas Roemmelt

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The Green Lady

This stunning representation has it each - aurora borealis dancing successful the sky, successful a sublime premix of greens and blues, each suspended supra an ice-cold water and the hints of quality habitation successful the signifier of that lit-up small town. It's a spot of a wonder, really. 

Connor Matherne

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The Many Jets and Shells of Centaurus A

A jaw-dropping representation of the infinite assortment of space, with those promintent jets successful the centre providing a science-fiction-esque focal point. This looks similar thing retired of Star Wars, no?

Mathew Browne

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The Moon And the Shard

The satellite hovers ominously down London's Shard, each of it lit up perfectly to item the building's consturction successful opposition to the marvellou item captured connected the moon's surface. 

Kristina Makeeva

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Aptly titled, this photograph does an astonishing occupation of balancing the deep, luscious colour of the aurora successful the entity against the astonishing amusement it's projecting into the impossibly wide chunks of crystal connected the ground. 

Alyn Wallace

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This photograph takes you down the curtain, showing a lone lensman taking a representation of an eclipse, and showcasing however distant 1 indispensable question to find the champion light. 

Ruslan Ilnitsky

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Sunspots AR 2741 and AR 2740

The sun's aboveground is simply a spot of a enigma to astir of america layfolk, but each cognize that sunspots beryllium - here's an awesome representation capturing conscionable 2 of them, neither hintint astatine the tremendous vigor that their quality really entails. 

Stefan Liebermann

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Desert Magic

A desesrt country that's beautifully lit by the smorgasbord of airy and stars successful the entity above, an full constellation and postulation suspended beautifully. 

Kamil Nureev

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Dance Over the Swamp

We don't often deliberation of the Northern Lights arsenic occurring implicit swamps, but present it is nonetheless, and that placid reflection is the cardinal to this photo's stellar success. 

Marcin Zajac

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Galactic Portal

Once again, present the opposition betwixt onshore and entity is the key, with the astonishing purples and pinks of the nighttime lighting up the framework beautifully, viewed from wrong a clump of rocks framing the action. 

Thomas Kast

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Painting the Sky

That astonishing enactment of colours, lighting up the entity successful ways that astir of america volition ne'er unrecorded to spot successful person, makes for an astonishing tableau. We deliberation this representation is named perfectly. 

Stacey Downton

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Jupiter Rising

It's nary mean feat to seizure the aboveground of a satellite similar Jupiter successful this way, from specified a distance, but this representation gives you a large consciousness of the roiling chaos that its aboveground would really be.

Ethan Roberts

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This large changeable is simply a occurrence of timing, with a wisp of unreality passing earlier the satellite and causing this otherworldly effect - it's similar thing retired a giallo fearfulness film, and we emotion it. 

Nguyễn Hoàng Linh

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This astonishing timelapse implicit immoderate paddies is simply a beauteous reminder of however time's passing is inevitable, and we peculiarly emotion however the vulnerability concentrates the lights of quality dwellings successful the frame's centre. 

Jen Rogers

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Milky Way and meteor astatine Porthgwarra

The vessel successful the representation is simply a cleanable focal point, bridging the 2 near-symmetrical sides of the creation and drafting the spectator out. We can't beryllium the lone ones who'd emotion to hop successful for a journey, right?

Kirk Paton

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The photographer's canine Trixy is the prima of the amusement here, artfully silhouetted successful beforehand of a agleam and immense moon, the focal magnitude making it look astir impossibly large. It's a delightful, amusive composition. 

Lone Tree nether a Scandinavian Aurora

Tom Archer's breath-taking representation of a lone snow-covered histrion sitting beneath the Scandinavian Aurora was chosen arsenic a runner up successful the Aurorae class for 2020. But it's inactive a staggering changeable successful our sentiment and Mandy Bailey, Astronomy Secretary for the Royal Astronomical Society agrees:

"This is 1 of my favourite images from this year’s competition. It is peaceful and serene yet besides powerful." 

Detached Prominences

Another runner up photo, this clip from the Young Competition, shows an incredibly elaborate photograph for eh prima taken with a premix of a scope and clever filters to effect successful an astonishing presumption implicit with star disc and prominence. 

Susan Derges, good creation photographer, commented:

"The Sun feels tremendous and powerful, with its borderline arching crossed the representation and the swirling contents of the star disc look arsenic if they are really moving. The combining of the 2 images successful Photoshop – star disc and prominence – is good executed and works effectively, truthful I'm not amazed the lensman is pleased with the result. It’s a fantastic image."

3-D Moon

Roshaan Nadeem's astonishing representation of the satellite appears to beryllium a operation of photos of a Waxing Gibbous Moon and Full Moon, with fantastic results that springiness the Moon a three-dimensional effect.  

Startrails successful Namib Desert

This photograph of startrails was taken successful the Namib godforsaken and chosen arsenic different Young Competition runner-up. We emotion the results of this photographer's efforts with the Canon EOS 6D. Impressive stuff. 

Southern Cross implicit Siding Spring

If you privation to consciousness insignificant, conscionable instrumentality a look astatine this photograph by GuangHao Yu which shows a seemingly intolerable presumption of the unconscionable fig of stars successful the skies supra us. 

Milky Way Falls from the Sky

The cleanable framing of this photograph makes it look similar the Milky Way is emanating from betwixt these mountains.

We besides emotion however the wide presumption of the water's aboveground reflecting the surroundings and drafting the oculus distant from the stars above.  

Cosmic Inferno

The victor of the Stars and Nebulae category was fixed to this representation by Peter Ward showing the wonders of abstraction successful the raging cosmic inferno. 

Melanie Vandenbrouck, Curator of Art (post-1800) astatine Royal Museums Greenwich commented:

"Creation, elements, fire, brimstone and wonder. This astonishing representation conjures up these pictures that besides correspond the archetypal moments of the Universe, earlier stars were formed. It’s a moving reminder that erstwhile we look up to the nighttime sky, we thin to bash truthful with earthly concerns connected our minds, whether unconsciously oregon consciously arsenic seen here. The calamity of the 2019 bushfires successful Australia shook radical astir the world; successful the property of clime change, this extraordinarily beauteous representation urges america not to fto our children’s aboriginal spell up successful flames."

The Faint Surroundings of the Helix Nebula

This representation seemingly took Josep Drudis implicit 50 hours to capture. It shows the Helix Nebula, 1 of the closest agleam planetary nebulae to Earth. This is simply a determination of abstraction wherever a prima is thought to person shed its outer layers during its evolution. 


This photograph by Christopher Small was chosen arsenic a runner up successful the Skyscapes category and seems to amusement the beingness rushing by with the wonderment of continued enlargement happening astir america arsenic we beryllium still. 


Paul Wilson's photograph not lone has america admiring the quality of space, but besides made america grin arsenic it appropriately throws a question people into the entity wherever we'd wonderment what's retired there. 

Karijini National Park

Another striking presumption of the Milky Way erstwhile again appearing to amusement the wonderment of abstraction emerging from the waters of our ain world. 

Stefan Liebermann took this representation for the Skyscapes class portion astatine Karijini National Park and the results are incredible. 


Try not to get excessively distracted by the lava eruption bursting distant from the scenery arsenic you respire successful this presumption of the night's sky. What an awesome snap!

Galactic Portal

This stunning presumption seems to amusement a superb presumption of the starry nighttime from wrong a cave. An eerie and beauteous mist hangs implicit the water's aboveground adding to the wide majesty of the photo. 

Azure Vapor Tracers

Don't worry, this isn't an alien penetration oregon immoderate benignant of monolithic abstraction jellyfish, alternatively it's a photograph of a man-made lawsuit happening acknowledgment to NASA. 

These vapour trailers were created by the AZURE experiment wherever rockets fired harmless gasses into the precocious ambiance of our satellite successful bid to observe the dispersal from below. This experimentation was designed to assistance "...increase humanity's knowing of however the star upwind transfers vigor to the Earth and powers aurora."

Star Rain

This photograph by Yulia Zhulikova looks similar it could enactment conscionable arsenic good connected Instagram arsenic it does successful a photography competition. A lone woman stands wielding an umbrella nether a ablution of stars by the water's edge. 

Self-portrait nether the Milky Way

A antheral walking connected water, a superbly framed presumption of the starry entity and an awesome reflection too. What much could you want?

Tycho Crater Region with Colours

The victor of the Our Moon category of the 2020 awards shows a vivid and colourful presumption of the moon. The colours highlighting the antithetic minerals and materials that marque up the surface. 

Emily Drabek-Maunder, astrophysicist, astronomer and subject communicator astatine Royal Observatory Greenwich commented:

"This vibrant representation teases retired the faint colours connected the aboveground of the Moon. Not lone is this creation visually striking, but it highlights the antithetic materials the Moon is made up of, each from the information of the Earth."

Once successful a Blue Moon

Rob Mogford utilized his endowment to amusement disconnected what you tin bash with a bully scope and immoderate snazzy photography skills. 

A superb presumption of our satellite that makes it look similar a bluish marble hanging successful the blackness of space. 


An antithetic presumption of Our Sun, with a peaceful, ultraviolet theme. 

This representation was highly commended successful its class and pb László Francsics, Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2019 Overall Winner to comment:

"The symmetry of this representation is fascinating and the antithetic but breathtaking ultraviolet colour palette adds a unsocial twist to it. This is simply a bully illustration showing that the extraordinarily calm Sun surface, that mightiness beryllium a monotonous scene, tin besides beryllium captured artistically and to an outstanding standard."

House nether Rainbow Aurora

Love the thought of a agrarian retreat with views that'll stroke your socks off? Then this is the photograph for you. 

Wang Zheng managed to seizure this unthinkable photograph of a colourful Aurora and was selected arsenic a runner-up successful that class of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 awards.

Hamnøy Lights

A breathtaking presumption that's bully capable to marque you privation to determination location to determination a batch colder. This representation was a runner-up successful the Aurorae 2020 category of the awards and it's casual to spot why. 

Writing by Max Freeman-Mills and Adrian Willings. Originally published connected 23 July 2020.

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