Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 [Gallery]

NEW YORK | Thursday, September 19th, 2013 8:31am EDT

The Royal Observatory Greenwich is proud to present the winning images of Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013.

  • Earth and Space. Winner and Overall Winner. Guiding Light to the Stars © Mark Gee (Australia). The skies of the Southern Hemisphere offer a rich variety of astronomical highlights. The central regions of the Milky Way Galaxy, 26,000 light years away, appear as a tangle of dust and stars in the central part of the image. Two even more distant objects are visible as smudges of light in the upper left of the picture. These are the Magellanic Clouds, two small satellite galaxies in orbit around the Milky Way. Photo and caption: Mark GeeEarth and Space. Winner and Overall Winner. Guiding Light to the Stars © Mark Gee (Australia). The skies of the Southern Hemisphere offer a rich variety of astronomical highlights. The central regions of the Milky Way Galaxy, 26,000 light years away, appear as a tangle of dust and stars in the central part of the image. Two even more distant objects are visible as smudges of light in the upper left of the picture. These are the Magellanic Clouds, two small satellite galaxies in orbit around the Milky Way. Photo and caption: Mark Gee
  • Earth and Space. Runner-up. Green Energy © Fredrik Broms (Norway). The shifting lights of the Aurora Borealis can take on many shapes and forms as they are moulded by the Earth’s complex magnetic field. Sheets and planes of glowing gas appear to be twisted into a giant vortex above Grøtfjord in Norway. Photo and caption: Fredrik BromsEarth and Space. Runner-up. Green Energy © Fredrik Broms (Norway). The shifting lights of the Aurora Borealis can take on many shapes and forms as they are moulded by the Earth’s complex magnetic field. Sheets and planes of glowing gas appear to be twisted into a giant vortex above Grøtfjord in Norway. Photo and caption: Fredrik Broms
  • Earth and Space. Highly Commended. Icy Visitor © Fredrik Broms (Norway). Like the snowy mountains in the foreground, the nucleus of Comet Panstarrs is composed largely of ice and rock. The nucleus itself is just a few kilometres across but as it neared the Sun in early 2013, ice evaporating from the surface formed a tail of gas and dust hundreds of thousands of kilometres long. Photo and caption: Fredrik BromsEarth and Space. Highly Commended. Icy Visitor © Fredrik Broms (Norway). Like the snowy mountains in the foreground, the nucleus of Comet Panstarrs is composed largely of ice and rock. The nucleus itself is just a few kilometres across but as it neared the Sun in early 2013, ice evaporating from the surface formed a tail of gas and dust hundreds of thousands of kilometres long. Photo and caption: Fredrik Broms
  • Earth and Space. Highly Commended. A Quadruple Lunar Halo © Dani Caxete (Spain). All of the light which reaches the ground from space must first travel through the Earth’s atmosphere. During its journey the light can be altered by all sorts of atmospheric phenomena. Tiny ice crystals high above the ground refract the moonlight diverting it into a number of beautiful haloes. Photo and caption: Dani CaxeteEarth and Space. Highly Commended. A Quadruple Lunar Halo © Dani Caxete (Spain). All of the light which reaches the ground from space must first travel through the Earth’s atmosphere. During its journey the light can be altered by all sorts of atmospheric phenomena. Tiny ice crystals high above the ground refract the moonlight diverting it into a number of beautiful haloes. Photo and caption: Dani Caxete
  • Earth and Space. Highly Commended. Snowy Range Perseid Meteor Shower © David Kingham (USA). A great deal of careful planning, a long night of photography and hours of painstaking image processing have gone into creating this startling composite image of the Perseid meteor shower. The Perseid meteors get their name from the constellation of Perseus from where they appear to come. However, even at the peak of the shower it is impossible to predict exactly when or where the next meteor will appear. The photographer has combined 23 individual stills to convey the excitement and dynamism of this natural firework display. Photo and caption: David KinghamEarth and Space. Highly Commended. Snowy Range Perseid Meteor Shower © David Kingham (USA). A great deal of careful planning, a long night of photography and hours of painstaking image processing have gone into creating this startling composite image of the Perseid meteor shower. The Perseid meteors get their name from the constellation of Perseus from where they appear to come. However, even at the peak of the shower it is impossible to predict exactly when or where the next meteor will appear. The photographer has combined 23 individual stills to convey the excitement and dynamism of this natural firework display. Photo and caption: David Kingham
  • Deep space. Winner. Celestial Impasto: Sh2 - 239 © Adam Block (USA). Structures like this often seem unchanging and timeless on the scale of a human lifetime. However, they are fleeting and transient on astronomical timescales. Over just a few thousand years the fierce radiation from the stars in this nebula will erode the surrounding clouds of dust and gas, radically altering its appearance. Photo and caption: Adam BlockDeep space. Winner. Celestial Impasto: Sh2 - 239 © Adam Block (USA). Structures like this often seem unchanging and timeless on the scale of a human lifetime. However, they are fleeting and transient on astronomical timescales. Over just a few thousand years the fierce radiation from the stars in this nebula will erode the surrounding clouds of dust and gas, radically altering its appearance. Photo and caption: Adam Block
  • Deep space. Runner Up. Rho Ophiuchi and Antares Nebulae © Tom O’Donoghue (Ireland). The smoky appearance of the dust clouds in this image is fitting, since the grains of dust which make up the nebula are similar in size to particles of smoke here on Earth. The dust can reflect the light of nearby stars, as seen in the blue and yellow regions. It can also block and absorb the light of more distant stars, appearing brown and black in this image. To the right a bright star is ionizing a cloud of hydrogen gas, causing it to glow red, while below it far in the distance, is a globular cluster containing thousands of stars. Photo and caption: Tom O’DonoghueDeep space. Runner Up. Rho Ophiuchi and Antares Nebulae © Tom O’Donoghue (Ireland). The smoky appearance of the dust clouds in this image is fitting, since the grains of dust which make up the nebula are similar in size to particles of smoke here on Earth. The dust can reflect the light of nearby stars, as seen in the blue and yellow regions. It can also block and absorb the light of more distant stars, appearing brown and black in this image. To the right a bright star is ionizing a cloud of hydrogen gas, causing it to glow red, while below it far in the distance, is a globular cluster containing thousands of stars. Photo and caption: Tom O’Donoghue
  • Deep space. Highly Commended. Omega Centauri © Ignacio Diaz Bobillo (Argentina). Omega Centauri is a globular cluster, a spherical cloud containing several million stars. As this image shows, the stars are more densely clustered towards the centre. The pronounced red colour of several of the stars gives away the cluster’s great age: it is thought to have been formed billions of years ago. The cluster was first noted by the astronomer Ptolemy almost 2000 years ago and catalogued by Astronomer Royal Edmond Halley in 1677. Photo and caption: Ignacio Diaz BobilloDeep space. Highly Commended. Omega Centauri © Ignacio Diaz Bobillo (Argentina). Omega Centauri is a globular cluster, a spherical cloud containing several million stars. As this image shows, the stars are more densely clustered towards the centre. The pronounced red colour of several of the stars gives away the cluster’s great age: it is thought to have been formed billions of years ago. The cluster was first noted by the astronomer Ptolemy almost 2000 years ago and catalogued by Astronomer Royal Edmond Halley in 1677. Photo and caption: Ignacio Diaz Bobillo
  • Deep space. Highly commended. Floating Metropolis – NGC 253 © Michael Sidonio (Australia). First discovered by astronomer Caroline Herschel in 1783, NGC 253 is a rare example of a ‘starburst galaxy’ with new stars being formed at many times the rate in our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Its mottled appearance comes from extensive lanes of dust which thread through the galactic disk. These are studded with many red clouds of ionized hydrogen gas, marking the sites where new stars are being born. Photo and caption: Michael SidonioDeep space. Highly commended. Floating Metropolis – NGC 253 © Michael Sidonio (Australia). First discovered by astronomer Caroline Herschel in 1783, NGC 253 is a rare example of a ‘starburst galaxy’ with new stars being formed at many times the rate in our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Its mottled appearance comes from extensive lanes of dust which thread through the galactic disk. These are studded with many red clouds of ionized hydrogen gas, marking the sites where new stars are being born. Photo and caption: Michael Sidonio
  • Deep space. Highly commended. M81 – 82 and Integrated Flux Nebula © Ivan Eder (Hungary). Lying at a distance of twelve million light years from Earth, M81 and M82 are galaxies with a difference. Close encounters between the two objects have forced gas down into their central regions. In M81 this influx of gas is being devoured by a supermassive black hole. In neighbouring M82 the gas is fuelling a burst of new star formation which in turn is blasting clouds of hydrogen (shown in red) back out into space. Photo and caption: Ivan EderDeep space. Highly commended. M81 – 82 and Integrated Flux Nebula © Ivan Eder (Hungary). Lying at a distance of twelve million light years from Earth, M81 and M82 are galaxies with a difference. Close encounters between the two objects have forced gas down into their central regions. In M81 this influx of gas is being devoured by a supermassive black hole. In neighbouring M82 the gas is fuelling a burst of new star formation which in turn is blasting clouds of hydrogen (shown in red) back out into space. Photo and caption: Ivan Eder
  • Our solar system. Winner. Corona Composite of 2012: Australian Totality © Man-To Hui (China). This image is a demonstration of both precision timing and rigorous post-processing. It gives the viewer a window onto the elusive outer atmosphere of the Sun – the corona. A natural dimming of the Sun’s blinding brightness, courtesy of the Moon, reveals the ghostly glow of gas that has a temperature of one million degrees Celsius. For centuries total solar eclipses were the only way to study this hidden treasure of the Sun. By photographing this event, the breathtaking experience of viewing a total solar eclipse is captured indefinitely. Photo and caption: Man-To Hui Our solar system. Winner. Corona Composite of 2012: Australian Totality © Man-To Hui (China). This image is a demonstration of both precision timing and rigorous post-processing. It gives the viewer a window onto the elusive outer atmosphere of the Sun – the corona. A natural dimming of the Sun’s blinding brightness, courtesy of the Moon, reveals the ghostly glow of gas that has a temperature of one million degrees Celsius. For centuries total solar eclipses were the only way to study this hidden treasure of the Sun. By photographing this event, the breathtaking experience of viewing a total solar eclipse is captured indefinitely. Photo and caption: Man-To Hui
  • Our solar system. Runner Up. Magnetic Maelstrom © Alan Friedman (USA). The darkest patches or ‘umbrae’ in this image are each about the size of Earth, with the entire region of magnetic turmoil spanning the diameter of ten Earths. This image captures rich details directly around the sunspots, and further out in the so-called ‘quiet’ Sun where simmering hot plasma rises, cools and falls back. This produces a patchwork surface like a pot of boiling water, but on an epic scale – each bubbling granule is about the size of France. Photo and caption: Alan FriedmanOur solar system. Runner Up. Magnetic Maelstrom © Alan Friedman (USA). The darkest patches or ‘umbrae’ in this image are each about the size of Earth, with the entire region of magnetic turmoil spanning the diameter of ten Earths. This image captures rich details directly around the sunspots, and further out in the so-called ‘quiet’ Sun where simmering hot plasma rises, cools and falls back. This produces a patchwork surface like a pot of boiling water, but on an epic scale – each bubbling granule is about the size of France. Photo and caption: Alan Friedman
  • Young astronomy photographer. Winner. The Milky Way Galaxy © Jacob Marchio (USA, aged 14). This young astrophotographer has focused on one of the most spectacular vistas looking towards the very centre of the galaxy, capturing the glow of tens of billions of stars painting streaks of light across the sky. Dark lanes of interstellar dust and gas are seen in silhouette against the brilliance of the Milky Way’s dense bulge, while myriad clusters and star nurseries are sprinkled across the scene. Photo and caption: Jacob Marchio Young astronomy photographer. Winner. The Milky Way Galaxy © Jacob Marchio (USA, aged 14). This young astrophotographer has focused on one of the most spectacular vistas looking towards the very centre of the galaxy, capturing the glow of tens of billions of stars painting streaks of light across the sky. Dark lanes of interstellar dust and gas are seen in silhouette against the brilliance of the Milky Way’s dense bulge, while myriad clusters and star nurseries are sprinkled across the scene. Photo and caption: Jacob Marchio
  • Young astronomy photographer. Highly Commended. The Great Nebula © Samuel Copley (UK, aged 15). The Great Nebula, also referred to as The Orion Nebula and M42 is found in the well-known constellation of Orion, just below the hunter’s belt. To the naked eye the nebula looks like another star in Orion’s sword. However, this skilful young photographer has shown there is more to it than meets the eye by producing this beautiful image that not only shows the stunning formation of this popularly observed nebula but also it diffuse nature. Photo and caption: Samuel CopleyYoung astronomy photographer. Highly Commended. The Great Nebula © Samuel Copley (UK, aged 15). The Great Nebula, also referred to as The Orion Nebula and M42 is found in the well-known constellation of Orion, just below the hunter’s belt. To the naked eye the nebula looks like another star in Orion’s sword. However, this skilful young photographer has shown there is more to it than meets the eye by producing this beautiful image that not only shows the stunning formation of this popularly observed nebula but also it diffuse nature. Photo and caption: Samuel Copley
  • Young astronomy photographer. Highly Commended. The Waxing Crescent Moon © Jacob Marchio (USA, aged 14). The Moon seems to be emerging from the interplanetary darkness, and the young photographer has captured the contrast been the dark lava-filled lunar ‘seas’ and the mountainous southern highlands. Photo and caption: Jacob MarchioYoung astronomy photographer. Highly Commended. The Waxing Crescent Moon © Jacob Marchio (USA, aged 14). The Moon seems to be emerging from the interplanetary darkness, and the young photographer has captured the contrast been the dark lava-filled lunar ‘seas’ and the mountainous southern highlands. Photo and caption: Jacob Marchio
  • People and space. Winner. Moon Silhouettes © Mark Gee (Australia). This is a deceptively simple shot of figures silhouetted against a rising Moon. By photographing the people on the observation deck from a great distance, the photographer has emphasised their tiny scale compared to the grandeur of our natural satellite. Close to the horizon, Earth’s turbulent atmosphere blurs and softens the Moon’s outline and filters its normal cool grey tones into a warmer, yellow glow. Photo and caption: Mark GeePeople and space. Winner. Moon Silhouettes © Mark Gee (Australia). This is a deceptively simple shot of figures silhouetted against a rising Moon. By photographing the people on the observation deck from a great distance, the photographer has emphasised their tiny scale compared to the grandeur of our natural satellite. Close to the horizon, Earth’s turbulent atmosphere blurs and softens the Moon’s outline and filters its normal cool grey tones into a warmer, yellow glow. Photo and caption: Mark Gee
  • People and space. Runner Up. Hi.Hello © Ben Canales (USA). Appearing like a column of smoke rising from the horizon, a dark lane of dust marks the plane of the Milky Way in this photograph. This dust plays a vital role in the life story of our galaxy. Formed from the ashes of dead and dying stars, the dust clouds are also the regions in which new stars will form. Photo and caption: Ben CanalesPeople and space. Runner Up. Hi.Hello © Ben Canales (USA). Appearing like a column of smoke rising from the horizon, a dark lane of dust marks the plane of the Milky Way in this photograph. This dust plays a vital role in the life story of our galaxy. Formed from the ashes of dead and dying stars, the dust clouds are also the regions in which new stars will form. Photo and caption: Ben Canales
  • 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 FrancsicsRobotic 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.

 

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