Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013

Royal Observatory

Until Sun Feb 23

  • Guiding Light to the Stars

    © Mark Gee

    The winning image for the Royal Observatory’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 exhibition.

    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.

    Guiding Light to the Stars
  • Northern Lights XXIII

    © Mike Curry

    A vast sweep of shimmering auroral light appears to mirror the shape of the frozen shoreline in this beautifully composed shot. To capture all of the different sources of light – the stars, the aurora and the streetlights of the distant towns – is a tricky balancing act requiring great skill of the photographer.

    Northern Lights XXIII
  • Aurora Brutality

    © Tommy Richardsen

    Photographs of the aurora usually emphasise its ghostly and ethereal appearance. Here, however, the photographer has captured an auroral display which seems to convey the raw energy behind this powerful natural phenomenon. Subatomic particles are violently ejected from the Sun before slamming into the Earth’s upper atmosphere, exciting atoms of gas and causing them to glow with vivid colours.

    Aurora Brutality
  • Archway to Heaven

    © Stephen Banks

    The natural rock archway of Durdle Door dramatically frames the distant band of our Milky Way in this carefully composed shot. The spectacular rock formations in this part of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast are more than 100 million years old. However, many of the stars that make up the Milky Way are far older, at up to ten billion years old.

    Archway to Heaven
  • Starfall

    © Anton Jankovoy

    In this image a shower of stars or meteors appear to plunge towards the steep Himalayan mountainside. What it is actually showing is the trails made by stars as the Earth rotates over a long exposure.

    Starfall
  • Receiving the Galactic Beam

    © Wayne England

    Here, the photographer has managed to catch the moment when the Milky Way appears to line up with the giant 64m dish of the radio telescope at Parkes Observatory in Australia. As can be seen from the artificial lights around the telescope, light pollution is not a problem for radio astronomers. Radio and microwave interference is a big issue however, as it masks the faint natural emissions from distant objects in space. For this reason many radio observatories ban mobile phone use on their premises.

    Receiving the Galactic Beam
  • The Rim of Myvatn Craters

    © James Woodend

    'Photographers of the Rim of Myvatn Craters': The scale and majesty of astronomical and atmospheric phenomena are clearly shown in this dramatic scene. Although auroral displays have become more common, as the Sun nears the peak of its eleven-year cycle of activity in 2013, these hilltop observers were still lucky to witness such a spectacular example.

    The Rim of Myvatn Craters
  • Eta Carinae and her Keyhole

    © Michael Sidonio

    The Carina Nebula is a chaotic region of star formation several thousand light years from Earth. In the central part of the nebula, shown here, dense clouds of gas and dust are lit up by the light of newly born stars. One of these is a true giant – the star Eta Carinae right at the centre of this image. More than a hundred times as massive as the Sun, and millions of times brighter, Eta Carinae is unstable and will one day explode as a supernova.

    Eta Carinae and her Keyhole
  • Hunter's Moon over the Alps

    © Stefano De Rosa

    As the full Moon sinks in the west, the Sun rises in the east, lighting up the snow-capped Alpine horizon. Although both Moon and mountain are illuminated by sunlight in this image their different colours reveal the scattering effects of the Earth’s atmosphere on the white light of the Sun. The rays of the rising Sun pass through the full thickness of the air causing the blue, green and yellow light to be scattered in all directions and leaving only the red light to reach the distant mountains. The Moon is slightly higher in the sky, so its reflected sunlight is scattered less severely, and retains a warm yellow glow.

    Hunter's Moon over the Alps
  • Comet Panstarrs

    © Ingólfur Bjargmundsson

    Although a line of burnt orange along the horizon marks where sunset has already occurred, most of the light in this image still comes ultimately from the Sun. High in the sky the bright disc of the Moon is shining with reflected sunlight, while a tiny smudge above the sea is sunlight reflecting from the dust and gas in the tail of Comet Panstarrs. Even the aurora’s ghostly curtains of glowing gas are ultimately powered by the ‘solar wind’ of subatomic particles given off by the Sun. Only the stars shine with their own light.

    Comet Panstarrs
  • Full view of Noctilucent Cloud

    © Mark Shaw

    Noctilucent clouds are formed of tiny ice crystals high in the atmosphere, around 80km above the ground. Their name means ‘night shining’ in Latin and they only become visible during deep twilight conditions. This is because they are not competing with the blue daytime sky and the more substantial clouds at lower altitudes. Here, despite the urban lights, they put on a spectacular display above the Pennine Hills of northern England.

    Full view of Noctilucent Cloud
  • Herbig-Haro Objects

    © Andre van der Hoeven

    The birth of new stars is a complex process which astronomers are still trying to understand in detail. One fascinating aspect of stellar formation is the production of jets of material which blast out from the poles of some new-born stars. Here, these jets, or ‘Herbig-Haro objects’, can be seen emerging from the thick dust and gas clouds of the Pelican Nebula, a stellar nursery in the constellation of Cygnus.

    Herbig-Haro Objects
  • Orion Nebula

    © Nik Szymanek

    Modern cameras can detect light which is too faint for our eyes to see and are able to distinguish levels of detail which are well beyond our own capabilities. In rendering this information as an image we can understand, astrophotographers must make practical and aesthetic choices about contrast, brightness and colour. Here, the photographer has chosen an unusually subdued palette of colours to represent the Orion Nebula, replacing the familiar riot of reds and magentas with subtle greys and salmon pinks. These emphasise the delicate structure of the nebula’s dust clouds.

    Orion Nebula
  • A Flawless Point

    © Rogelio Bernal Andreo

    This striking and unusual panoramic shot is the result of meticulous planning, an artist’s eye for dramatic lighting and sheer chance. The photograph shows the Milky Way arching over Yosemite Valley in California’s famous national park. A lens-shaped (lenticular) cloud hovers over the distinct granite dome of Liberty Cap, which rises to an elevation of over 2000m, near the centre of the photograph.

    A Flawless Point

Guiding Light to the Stars

© Mark Gee

The winning image for the Royal Observatory’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 exhibition.

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.

 
0

Reviews

Add +

Venue details

MAP CLOSE
  • Name:

    Royal Observatory

  • Address:

    Royal Observatory Blackheath Avenue
    Greenwich
    SE10 8XJ

  • Venue phone:

    020 8858 4422

  • Venue website:

    www1.rmg.co.uk/

  • Opening hours:

    10am-5pm daily

  • Transport:

    Rail: Cutty Sark or Greenwich DLR

  • Price:

    Astronomy Centre free. Flamsteed House & Meridian Courtyard £7, £5 concs, £2 under-16s, under-5s free, £8-£15 family. Planetarium £6.50, £4.50 concs, under-3s free, £17.50 family

  • Map

    1. Royal Observatory
      • Blackheath Avenue
        Greenwich
        SE10 8XJ
      • 020 8858 4422
      • www1.rmg.co.uk/
      • 51.477805,-0.001404
  • Date Time Price information
  • Tue Sep 24 2013
    10:00