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Escape the Earth with the winning images of the Astronomy Photographer of Year 2020 competition

The prestigious Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest has announced the winning photos of its 2020 contest. From galaxies and star-forming nebulae to planets, auroras and annoying satellite trails, these photos remind us that Earth is not that a speck in the vastness of space.

This is 12 conduct of the photo contest, managed by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with BBC Sky at Night Magazine and Insight Investment. For this year’s contest, the judges had to carefully review and select 5,000 entries collected by six continents.

French photographer Nicolas Lefaudeux̵

7;s stunning photo of the Andromeda galaxy (pictured above) earned him a grand total of £ 10,000 ($ 12,860). Lefaudeux’s composition makes it appear that the Andromeda galaxy, the closest galaxy to ours, is within an arm’s length, even though it is 2 millions of light years away. The photographer created this tilt-shift effect by 3D printing a part that held the camera at a key angle, while the blur effect was created by blurring the outer edges of the photo.

The green lady

These Northern Lights, captured in Norway by German photographer Nicholas Roemmelt, flare up in green, blue and pink, revealing a hidden figure.

Tycho crater region with colors

Winning image for the Our Moon category.

Winning image for the Our Moon category.
Image: Alain Paillou (France)

The hidden colors of Tycho Crater on the Moon are revealed in this vivid composite photo taken by Alain Paillou. The colors of the ground, although faint to the naked eye, are produced by metal oxides embedded within small glass spheres scattered on the lunar surface. The blue areas are rich in titanium oxide, while the red areas are rich in iron oxide.

Liquid Sunshine

This incredibly detailed view of the Sun’s surface, seen during its solar minimum, was captured by UK photographer Alexandra Hart. Each of those convection cells seen in the photo measure approximately 600 miles (1,000 km) in diameter.

The prison of technology

This image, captured by Rafael Schmall, is a perfect, if unfortunate, example of how satellites are making it increasingly difficult to is astronomers to look at an unobstructed sky. Here sits the double star of Albireo behind a series of satellite tracks, which appear when usedexhibition photographs.

Paint the sky

The polar night, as seen by photographer Thomas Kast in Finnish Lapland. This unreal skyscape looks like like something out of a Monet painting, but the dramatic effect is produced by the polar stratospheric clouds. Ironically, Kast was actually trying to photograph clear skies at night when this incredible sight suddenly appeared.

Space between us

On October 31, 2019, Polish photographer Łukasz Sujka shot this unusually close alignment of Jupiter and the Moon. Sujka said she “wants to show the huge void and the size of the space, which is why there is not much” nothing “between the two main parts of the image,” as she said in a press release.

Cosmic Inferno

Winner of the Stars and Nebulae category.

Winner of the Stars and Nebulae category.
Image: Peter Ward (Australia)

A unique false color view of NGC 3576, in which the stars were removed from this nebula by photographer Peter Ward. The purpose of this exercise was to emulate images taken from the Australian fires in 2019 and 2020.

The four planets and the moon

Young Competition category winner.

Winner of the Young Competition category.
Image: Alice Fock Hang (Reunion

Alice Fock Hang, 11, won the first prize in the Young Competition category. Its stunning photo shows the Moon, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, and several prominent stars above the Indian Ocean, including Alpha Centauri on the far left and Antares parked in front of the Milky Way galaxy.


An extraordinary view of the California Nebula, or NGC 1499, in which photographer Bence Toth endeavored to preserve the original colors of this star-forming region as much as possible.

NGC 3628 with 300,000 lightYear-Long tail

It took photographer Mark Hanson five years to produce this stunning image of the galaxy NGC 3628, with most exposures captured in 2019. The purpose of this mosaic image, and the main challenge, was to show the colossal tail of the galaxy, which it measures 300,000 light years in length.

AZURE vapor tracers

This isn’t an alien invasion, but it’s not a completely natural occurrence either. This show, photographed by Yang Sutie in Arctic Norway, captures the brilliant remnants of the auroral zone ascent rocket experiment (BLUE), in which rockets launched by the Andøya Space Center scattered gas tracers to probe the winds in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

All the winning works will be exhibited at the National Maritime Museum starting from 23 October 2020.

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