Friday, 21 September 2012 1:28 PM
The spectacular winning entries of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year are now on show at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
Australian based photographer Martin Pugh claimed the top prize in the Royal Observatory’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition for the second time, after winning the accolade back in 2009.
As well as securing the £1,500 top prize, his image takes pride of place in the exhibition of winning photographs at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, which opened in September 20th.
Pugh impressed the judges in this year’s competition with the depth and clarity of his winning shot depicting the famous Whirlpool Galaxy (M51), shown above.
Competition judge and Royal Observatory Public Astronomer, Dr Marek Kukula, said: “The photographer has made the most of exceptionally good atmospheric conditions to capture an astonishing range of detail in his image of this iconic galaxy...it’s a remarkable achievement by an amateur astronomer; one of the best images of M51 that I’ve seen.”
Some of the other winning images:
The winner of the Earth and Space category was Japan’s Masahiro Miyasaka for his image of Orion, Taurus and the Pleiades forming a dramatic backdrop above an eerie frozen landscape in Nagano. Though the stars appear to gleam with a cold, frosty light, bright blue stars like the Pleiades can be as hot as 30,000 degrees Celsius.
Star Icefall © Masahiro Miyasaka (Japan)
The Our Solar System category was won by Chris Warren, for his fleeting image of the transit taken through a thin patch of cloud at Blackheath in London. Perhaps the biggest astronomical event of 2012 was the transit of Venus, which took place in June. Transits occur when Venus passes directly between the Earth and the Sun, appearing as a small black disc passing across the face of our parent star. The next transit will not take place for 105 years, in December 2117.
Transit of Venus 2012 in Hydrogen-Alpha © Chris Warren (UK)
The winner of the People and Space category was won by Laurent Laveder for his image showing the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. One of the astronomical highlights of 2012, the conjunction was the period when the two bright planets appeared conspicuously close together in the sky. Their apparent closeness was an optical illusion – Jupiter was in fact millions of kilometres further away than Venus. The photographer is pictured in the lower right corner of the frame and the Pleiades and Taurus are also visible on the upper left.
Facing Venus-Jupiter Close Conjunction © Laurent Laveder (France)
The Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year accolade was won by 15 year old Jacob von Chorus from Canada, who impressed the judges with his beautiful shot of the Pleiades. Among the nearest star clusters to Earth, the stars of the Pleiades (Messier 45) are easily seen with the naked eye in the Northern hemisphere’s winter skies. While it is often called the Seven Sisters, this beautiful photograph reveals many more of the hot, young stars which comprise the cluster.
Pleiades Cluster © Jacob von Chorus (Canada, aged 15)
The Best Newcomer category was won by Lóránd Fényes from Hungary with his image ‘Elephant's Trunk with Ananas’.
Elephant's Trunk with Ananas © Lóránd Fényes (Hungary)
Astronomy Photographer of the Year is now in its fourth year and is run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich and Sky at Night Magazine. The best of these exceptional photographs – winners, runners-up or highly commended in the competition’s different categories and special prizes – are showcased in a free exhibition in the Royal Observatory’s Astronomy Centre which is open to the public from 20 September 2012 until February 2013.
Follow us @travelbite