The diminutive silhouette of a sky-watcher in Iceland last December is set against the grandeur of a double cosmic arch encapsulating the Milky Way and the northern lights. The picturesque Godafoss waterfall and surrounding frozen landscape helps frame the picture, which won first place in the Fourth International Earth and Sky Photo Contest's "Beauty of the Night Sky" category, organizers announced this week.
"This submission is a stitched panorama of four pictures where the Milky Way and the aurora curves extend right into the river and waterfall," said Babak Tafreshi, director of The World at Night (TWAN) and one of the contest founders.
Founded by TWAN and the Dark Skies Awareness project, the annual contest invites photographers to submit their best shots of landscape astrophotography—pictures that showcase both the Earth and the sky—as well as images that capture the battle against light pollution.
Photographers from 45 countries submitted 685 entries to the contest this year and were judged in two categories: "Beauty of the Night Sky" and "Against the Lights."
"The amazing number of eye-catching entries from across the world tells how public attention to night sky is growing," said Tafreshi in a press release this week.
Best Night-Sky Pictures of 2013 Named
Winners of the 2013 Earth & Sky photo contest capture the beauty of the night sky and highlight the issue of light pollution.