Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 [Gallery]

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Robotic scope. Winner. The Trapezium Cluster and Surrounding Nebulae © László Francsics (Hungary). The great Orion Nebula is often described as a ‘stellar nursery’ because of the huge number of stars which are being created within its clouds of dust and glowing gas. As dense clumps of gas collapse under their own gravity any remaining debris settles into a dark disc surrounding each newly-formed star. One of these ‘protoplanetary discs’ can be seen silhouetted against the bright background of glowing gas in the central star cluster of this image. Within the disc, material will condense still further, as planets, moons, asteroids and comets begin to form around the star. Photo and caption: László Francsics

Australian photographer Mark Gee has beaten thousands of people across the world to be crowned Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013.

His startling shot of the Milky Way with a beam from a lighthouse was commended by judges for its depth and clarity.

As well as securing the £1,500 top prize, his image takes pride of place in the exhibition of winning photographs opening at the Royal Observatory Greenwich on 19 September 2013.

There were several other categories including ‘Earth and Space’, ‘Deep Space’ and ‘Our Solar System’, among others.

The transit of Venus, comets, nebulae, aurorae and more can be found in the images on display. Winning entries have come from all around the world in another record-breaking year, with more images entered than ever before.

For information about entering next year’s competition visit www.rmg.co.uk/astrophoto.