A lone photographer stands in Moab, Utah, silhouetted against a night sky that reveals the Andromeda galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy, and the moon.
A gorgeous photograph of the night sky can enchant even the weariest of souls. It can reveal galaxies, meteors, and otherworldly light. But to get such an image requires extreme calibration. The weather needs to be just right, as does the camera setting. A tripod is a must. Patience and practice are key.
Then, if the stars align, what could have been a ho-hum picture of the darkness suddenly becomes a brilliant portrait of the cosmos.
Such was the goal for the photographers who submitted their images to this year’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest. Now in its 10th year, the contest is run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, in association with Insight Investment and BBC Sky at Night magazine.
“With a competition that keeps on flourishing over the years, the growing community of amateur astrophotographers have time after time surprised us with technically accomplished, playfully imaginative and astoundingly beautiful images that sit at the intersection of art and science” competition judge Melanie Vandenbrouck, curator of art at Royal Museums Greenwich, says in a press release.
“This year did not disappoint,” she adds. “To pick just 31 winners from the 134 shortlisted images was fiendishly difficult!”
Above are some of our favorites from this year's competition winners.