Do you need inspiration? Last week, the title Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 was awarded by the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, and with it came a collection of space photos that blew us all in awe.
Point to some truly innovative and unexpected captures of galaxies, nebulae, planets, the Moon and even SpaceX satellites.
The winning image was this (above) from French photographer Nicolas Lefaudeux, who beat thousands of amateur and professional photographers from around the world to win the $ 13,000 first prize. His image takes pride of place in the winning photography exhibition opening at the National Maritime Museum on 23 October 2020.
“For most of us, our closest neighbor galaxy, Andromeda, may feel so distant and out of reach, but creating a photograph that gives us the impression that it is only within our physical reach is truly magical,” he said. competition judge Ed Robinson.
However, it was not an easy competition to judge this year. “The global situation has made judging and selecting candidates extremely challenging this year, particularly with judges spread across several countries,” said Dr Emily Drabek-Maunder, astronomer at Royal Museums Greenwich and competition judge. . “However, the photographs exceeded our expectations and the innovation demonstrated by the participants was phenomenal.”
The incredible image of Lefaudeux took the overall prize, but it also won the title in the “galaxies” category.
Here are the rest of the amazing category winners:
Aurorae: The green lady by Nicholas Roemmelt
“During a trip to Norway the Northern Lights appeared unexpectedly in their magical green clothes making the whole sky burn with green, blue and pink.”
Our moon: Tycho crater region with colors by Alain Paillou
“Tycho Crater is one of the most famous craters on the Moon … this image combines a session with a black and white camera, to capture detail and sharpness, and a session with a color camera, to capture the colors of soils. This image reveals the incredible beauty and complexity of our natural satellite. “
Our sun: Liquid Sunshine by Alexandra Hart
“The solar minimum can be seen as a quiet sun and considered opaque to white light, but if you look closely at the small-scale structure, the surface is animated by motion. This surface is about 100 kilometers thick and circulates the boiling motion of these convection cells, which lasts from 15 to 20 minutes. They are about 1,000 kilometers in size and create a beautiful “crazy pavement” structure for our enjoyment. “
People and space: The prison of technology by Rafael Schmall
“The star in the center of the image is the double star Albireo, surrounded by the trails of moving satellites. How many more could there be when we get to next year’s competition? There could be thousands of points moving in the sky. ”
Planets, comets and asteroids: Space between us by Łukasz Sujka
“This image shows the very close alignment of the Moon and Jupiter on October 31, 2019 … this small project is a big challenge that requires a lot of luck and good visibility conditions. I wanted to show the huge void and the dimensions of space. “
Landscapes of the sky: Paint the sky by Thomas Kast
“Polar stratospheric clouds are something the photographer has been looking for for many years and until that day he had only seen in photographs. The clouds slowly changed shape and colors. It was like watching someone paint, especially when the sun was lower: it was starting to turn a darker orange and the pink undertones became stronger. “
Stars and nebulae: Cosmic Inferno by Peter Ward
“NGC 3576 is a well-known nebula in the southern skies, but shown here without stars … the image is intended to reflect media images taken in Australia during 2019 and 2020, where massive forest fires caused the destruction of native forests and have claimed over 12 million acres of land. “
Young competition: The four planets and the moon by Alice Fock Hang
“Photographing a planetary alignment requires rigor and patience but also a lot of luck. The magic began after sunset, where the setting of the moon, Venus, Mercury, the star Antares, Jupiter and Saturn could be seen over the Indian Ocean. Also note the presence of Alpha Centuari to the left of the image as well as our huge galaxy, the Milky Way. ”
Sir Patrick Moore Award for Best Newcomer: Waves by Bence Toth
“The image shows the central region of the California Nebula (NGC 1499). It tries to show the vast, uncontrollable energy of nature, in a form that resembles the huge waves of a storm in the ocean. “
Annie Maunder Award for Image Innovation: Dark River by Julie F Hill
“Dark River is a sculptural work that maps, or mirrors, the celestial entity of the Milky Way using one of the largest images ever made of its central areas. This gigapixel image of the Milky Way, which shows about 84 million stars, is reworked into a sculptural “emotional space” that offers physical and imaginative involvement with the viewer. The image was obtained with the VISTA telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile and contains nearly nine billion pixels. “
I wish you clear skies and eyes wide open.