This year’s annual “Astronomy Photographer of the Year” competition has received more entries than ever before: over 4,500 outstanding pictures from enthusiastic amateurs and professional photographers from over 80 countries. Creating a shortlist for the eventual awards on September 15th was not easy, but 130 images eventually made the cut – 31 of them you can admire them below.
Shortlisted images include the breathtaking sight of the Perseid Meteor Shower appearing to cascade from Mount Shasta in California, USA; the Universe providing the sensational natural light show of the Aurora Australis to welcome in the New Year over Nugget Point on the Otago Coast of New Zealand; and the dramatic moment that our star, the Sun, appeared to be cloaked in darkness by the Moon during the Total Solar Eclipse of March 9th in Indonesia.
The range of locations is not just limited to our planet. Photographers have also captured sights from across our Solar System, galaxy and the wider universe; from the tempestuous storms visible across the face of Jupiter; to the luminous tangle of filaments of Pickering’s Triangle, one of the main visual elements of a supernova remnant in the Veil Nebula, whose source exploded around 8,000 years ago; to the starburst galaxy of M82, also known as the Cigar Galaxy, lying some 12 million light years away from our planet where a plethora of stars are being created.
The finale of the competition, run by the in association with Insight Investment and BBC’s Sky at Night magazine, will be celebrated at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, where a host of experts in the worlds of art and astronomy will announce the winners of nine categories and two special prizes. The winning images will be displayed in a free of charge exhibition at the Observatory’s Astronomy Centre from Saturday 17 September. All the shortlisted entries will also be published in the competition’s official book, available on 3 November.