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35 Breathtaking Photos From The ‘Astronomy Photographer Of The Year 2019’ Competition

Published 1 month ago

Every year astrophotographers from all over the world compete for the title of Astronomy Photographer of the Year. Just recently, the Royal Observatory Greenwich has finally announced the winners of this year’s competition and the pictures will take your breath away.

This year, the organizers received 4,602 entries from photographers in 90 countries. The title of Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year went to Hungarian photographer László Francsics for his picture of the total lunar eclipse that occurred on the 21st of January, 2019.

In an interview with Bored Panda, László said he started taking astrophotos back in 2003 when he was just 19. “I had already been into photography for several years, and one of my friends pulled me into amateur astronomy. I put the two things together immediately,” said the photographer.

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#1 Aurorae: ‘Aurora Is A Bird’ By Alexander Stepanenko

Image source: Alexander Stepanenko

#2 Stars And Nebulae: ‘Deep In The Heart Of Mordor – Ngc 7293’ By Andrew Campbell

Image source: Andrew Campbell

“For this moon eclipse shot I did not need to travel anywhere, I took this photo at home from the roof-terrace over my house. But for deepsky images (nebulas, galaxies) we have to go to extremely dark places far from settlement, also in Hungary,” said László. “Hungary is actually a fairly good location in Europe for astrophotography as the light pollution is quite low at certain areas.”

László says his wife knew he’d win the award. “When I started to process the image after my sleepless night of the capturing, she saw halfready image on my computers screen and told me confidently that it will be the next overall winner,” said the photographer. “She has never said it before, despite I have already took 5 awarded images at the IAPY competition during the past 7 years.”

Check out the winning photo as well as the runner-ups in the gallery below!

#3 People And Space Winner: ‘Ben, Floyd & The Core’ By Ben Bush

Image source: Ben Bush

“Cloud cover doesn’t always scupper astronomy. It can complement and frame the sense of awe so long as it keeps in the right place, as captured here.”

Jon Culshaw, comedian, impersonator and regular guest on The Sky at Night

“Talk about a ’decisive moment!’ Vast yet intimate, breathtaking and touching all in one beautiful image.”

Rebecca Roth, Image Coordinator and Social Media Specialist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

“I love the story of how Floyd the dog was persuaded to be a part of this fantastic image.”

Alan Sparrow, Chair of the UK Picture Editors’ Guild and Director of the UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards

#4 Skyscapes Highly Commended: ‘Flower Power’ By Brandon Yoshizawa

Image source: Brandon Yoshizawa

“Timing is everything. There is no better example of that than this image. However, even the best timing needs an expert eye to make the most of it. The perfect execution of capturing and processing here makes me feel as if I’m standing on the ground witnessing this incredible event.”

Steve Marsh, Art Editor for BBC Sky at Night Magazine

“Looking rather like a special effect from some imaginary spacecraft in a science-fiction story, this image shows hot exhaust from a launching rocket making contact with colder air. Though the initial plume is thin, the changes in atmospheric conditions as the rocket climbs cause the exhaust to surge dramatically outwards, creating the ‘petals’ of the flower. Under the right conditions, minute ice crystals form, reflecting and scattering light from over the horizon, injecting colour into the scene (including rainbow effects). The apparent stillness of the natural landscape and the man-made activity overhead contrast wonderfully, and are dramatically framed.”

Edward Bloomer, Planetarium Astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich

#5 Our Sun Winner: ‘A Little Fireworks’ By Alan Friedman

Image source: Alan Friedman

“This image presents a view of the Sun infrequently seen. It reminds me of images viewed through a microscope rather than a telescope. Taking something as huge as our star and presenting it in such fine detail as if observed under the microscope is a real feat of photography.”

Oana Sandu, Community Coordinator and Communication Strategy Officer at the European Southern Observatory (ESO)

“The use of a different colour palette to our expectations gives us an alternative way to think about the Sun.”

Alan Sparrow, Chair of the UK Picture Editors’ Guild and Director of the UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards

#6 Stars And Nebulae: ‘Ngc 6164, The Blue Doily’ By Josep Drudis

Image source: Josep Drudis

#7 Galaxies Highly Commended: ‘Andromeda Galaxy’ By Raul Villaverde Fraile

Image source: Raul Villaverde Fraile

“This is a popular deep-sky target imaged to an intensely detailed degree. The bright halo around M31 really shines here. This is not easy to capture without bleaching out detail in the brighter parts of the main galaxy, but the photographer has managed to display fine dust lanes spiralling all the way into a beautifully balanced galactic core.”

Steve Marsh, Art Editor for BBC Sky at Night Magazine

#8 Stars And Nebulae: ‘Depth And Height, Ngc 7822 Devil’s Head Nebulae Complex’ By László Bagi

Image source: László Bagi

#9 Robotic Scope: ‘Sh2-308 Dolphin Head’ By Tian Lee

Image source: Tian Lee

#10 Aurorae: ‘To The Flying Aurora’ By Zhijun Yan

Image source: Zhijun Yan

#11 Skyscapes Winner: ‘Across The Sky Of History’ By Wang Zheng

Image source: Wang Zheng

“I was immediately struck by the surrealist quality of this image. There is a calmness about the scene but also a great strength in the twisted form of the dead tree reaching out, both towards the Milky Way and the falling meteor, making a powerful connection between the Earth, near sky and deep sky. The tonal quality and range emphasize the detail, which I can easily lose myself in for quite some time.”

Mandy Bailey, Astronomy Secretary for the Royal Astronomy Society

“From the movement of the trees to the streak of the meteor, there is symmetry and drama in this shot that feels like it was always there. The decision to de-saturate the image gives it an ageless feel.”

Steve Marsh, Art Editor for BBC Sky at Night Magazine

#12 Skyscapes: ‘Deadvlei’ By Stefan Liebermann

Image source: Stefan Liebermann

#13 Aurorae: ‘Aurora Like Phoenix’ By Wang Zheng

Image source: Wang Zheng

#14 Our Moon: ‘Mineral Moon – Aristarchus Quadrangle’ By Alain Paillou

Image source: Alain Paillou

#15 People And Space Runner-Up: ‘Above The Tower’ By Sam King

Image source: Sam King

“Night-time mist, ancient ruins, ethereal light and the quiet expression of the human presence all make this contemplative scene remind me of the romantic landscapes of the German painter Caspar David Friedrich.”

Melanie Vandenbrouck, Curator of Art at Royal Museums Greenwich

#16 The Sir Patrick Moore Prize For Best Newcomer Joint: ‘Bloodborne’ By Keijo Laitala

Image source: Keijo Laitala

#17 Aurorae: ‘Aurora Outside The Tiny Cave’ By Sutie Yang

Image source: Sutie Yang

#18 Stars And Nebulae Runner-Up: ‘A Horsehead Curtain Call’ By Bob Franke

Image source: Bob Franke

“It takes control to present monochrome images of such colourful objects such as this one. Even more control to produce one as perfectly processed as this of an object notorious for its imaging difficulty.”

Steve Marsh, Art Editor for BBC Sky at Night Magazine

#19 Skyscapes: ‘Worimi’ By Jay Evans

Image source: Jay Evans

#20 Our Moon: ‘Sunlight Versus Earthshine’ By László Francsics

Image source: László Francsics

#21 Stars And Nebulae Winner: ‘Statue Of Liberty Nebula’ By Ignacio Diaz Bobillo

Image source: Ignacio Diaz Bobillo

“This is simply exquisite! I love the pastel aquamarine and rosy hues, the delicate wisps of gas and dust, the finely drawn features of the nebula.”

Melanie Vandenbrouck, Curator of Art at Royal Museums Greenwich

“The choice of palette and attention to colour balance lend a fairy-tale quality to this image. Pools of light are perfectly balanced, inviting the eye to explore the abstract sculptural beauty of the nebulae. A superb result.”

Tom Kerss, Public Astronomy Officer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich

#22 Our Sun Highly Commended: ‘The Sun – Atmospheric Detail’ By Jason Guenzel

Image source: rmg.co.uk

“I commend the creative and artistic choices made by the photographer in both the colour palette and the highlighting of the prominence with an enhanced atmospheric layer. The final image is spectacular.”

Ed Robinson, Award-winning photographer, creative director, visual consultant and founder of OneRedEye Visual Communications

#23 Skyscapes Runner-Up: ‘Galactic Lighthouse’ By Ruslan Merzlyakov

Image source: Ruslan Merzlyakov

“The range, balance and framing of this composition are already incredible, yet some intangible ingredient further elevates this image to dizzying heights of surreal beauty. The essence of exploration, from the terrestrial shore to the cosmic shore, with beacons of light both grounded and celestial, is utterly spellbinding.”

Tom Kerss, Astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich

#24 Stars And Nebulae Highly Commended: ‘The Elegant Elephant’s Trunk’ By Lluís Romero Ventura

Image source: Lluís Romero Ventura

“An image of swathes of the universe under construction conveying a grace and beauty at vast distance, which contrasts with the cataclysms and ‘late heavy bombardments’ which are likely taking place at the heart of it.”

Jon Culshaw, comedian, impersonator and regular guest on The Sky at Night

#25 The Sir Patrick Moore Prize For Best Newcomer Joint: ‘The Perseid Fireball 2018’ By Zhengye Tang

Image source: Zhengye Tang

#26 Our Moon: ‘Hubble Space Telescope Transits Across The Moon Between Lunar X And Lunar V’ By Michael Marston

Image source: Michael Marston

#27 Stars And Nebulae: ‘Fiery Lobster Nebula’ By Suavi Lipinski

Image source: Suavi Lipinski

#28 Galaxies Runner-Up: ‘Hydrogen Sculptures In The Large Magellanic Cloud’ By Ignacio Diaz Bobillo

Image source: Ignacio Diaz Bobillo

“This is a fascinatingly unusual image in its texture and patterns, like endless backlit smoke rings in the corner of a celestial jazz bar.”

Jon Culshaw, comedian, impersonator and regular guest on The Sky at Night

#29 Our Sun Runner-Up: ‘The Active Area Ar12714’ By Gabriel Corban

Image source: Gabriel Corban

“This is an incredible portrait of the Sun’s untameable fury – a maelstrom of seething plasma we so seldom consider as we bask in its warm rays on a peaceful day.”

Tom Kerss, Public Astronomy Officer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich

#30 The Sir Patrick Moore Prize For Best Newcomer Joint: ‘The Horsehead Nebula’ By Rob Mogford

Image source: Rob Mogford

#31 Stars And Nebulae: ‘The Running Man Nebula’ By Steven Mohr

Image source: Steven Mohr

#32 Planets, Comets And Asteroids Highly Commended: ‘Black Saturn’ By Martin Lewis

Image source: Martin Lewis

“I’ve loved the monochrome images in this year’s competition and this view of Saturn is no exception. Capturing an image using a methane filter to reveal this type of detail is technically challenging. It gives us a very different view of Saturn and one I found fascinating to explore, wondering what caused the methane to form into such bands.”

Mandy Bailey, Astronomy Secretary for the Royal Astronomical Society

#33 Stars And Nebulae: ‘Ngc 2070 – The Tarantula Nebula’ By Thomas Klemmer

Image source: Thomas Klemmer

#34 Aurorae Winner: ‘The Watcher’ By Nicolai Brügger

Image source: Nicolai Brügger

“I love the detail in the foreground. It puts a perspective on the aurora and gives a scale to this phenomenon.”

Alan Sparrow, Chair of the UK Picture Editors’ Guild and Director of the UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards

“If an image is worth a thousand words, this one definitely encompasses that. The amount of elements to explore in this frame is impressive. Even more impressive is the way the elements come together in a balanced composition: the Milky Way arch above intersects with the aurora and the human presence points towards the landscape below, which puts up a light show of its own. I especially liked spotting the footprints in the snow.”

Oana Sandu, Community Coordinator and Communication Strategy Officer at the European Southern Observatory

#35 Skyscapes: ‘Mars Above The Keck Lasers’ By Sean Goebel

Image source: Sean Goebel

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Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2019, astrophotography, galaxy, László Francsics, Royal Observatory Greenwich, space, stars, winners
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