Astronomy Photographer of the Year
20th September 2012
The winners of the 2012 Astronomy Photographer of the Year have been announced. This year the competition, run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with Sky at Night Magazine, received a record number of entries from amateurs and professional photographers around the world.
Australian-based photographer Martin Pugh claimed the top prize. He also won the accolade in 2009. As well as securing the 1,500 pounds top prize, his image takes pride of place in the exhibition of winning photographs.
The exhibition opens at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich (London) today.
The overall competition winner was by Martin Pugh. This image of the Whirlpool Galaxy - which also won the Deep Space category - combines fine detail in the spiral arms with the faint tails of light that show its small companion galaxy being slowly torn apart by the gravity of its neighbour.
The winner of the Earth and Space category was taken in Nagano, Japan by Masahiro Miyasaka. Orion, Taurus and the Pleiades are the backdrop to an eerie frozen landscape.
Green World, by Arild Heitmann (Norway) was Runner-up in the Earth and space category. The aurora borealis traces the shifting patterns of the Earth?s magnetic field, creating a spectacular midwinter show in Nordland Fylke.
Photographer Steven Christenson came across two hikers lost in the wilderness of Yosemite one July evening. The tiny figures are lit in a small bubble of torchlight. The picture was runner-up in the People and Space special prize.
The Milky Way View from the Piton de l'Eau, Reunion Island, by Luc Perrot. This photo was highly commended in the Earth and space category. The Milky Way arches over a mirror-like lake on the island of Reunion. At the bottom of the picture Piton des Neiges, the highest peak of Reunion Island, can be seen. The bright patch to the left of the image marks the bulge of stars at the heart of our Galaxy. The photographer waited two years before all the combined conditions were favourable to succeed with this photo.
Runner-up in the Deep Space category was Rogelio Bernal Andreo's picture of a vast supernova remnant Simels 147, which consists of the expanding debris of a massive star that exploded around 40,000 years ago. It's nicknamed the Spaghetti Nebula.
Michael A Rosinski was highly commended in the Earth and Space category. Summer Nights in Michigan is a long-exposure image that contrasts the regular arcs of star trails with the chaotic swarming of fireflies - celestial, natural and manmade light are captured in a single photograph.
Sky away from the Lights by Tunc Tezel (Turkey). Dark mountain peaks frame two distinct lightscapes - the distant glow of towns and villages, and the majestic star fields of The Milky Way. Making the most of an August night, the photographer got this shot after trekking out to the Uludag National Park near his hometown of Bursa, Turkey. Highly commended in the Earth and Space category