Here Are The Contenders for Astronomy Photographer Of The Year

The shortlist has been announced for the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016 awards.

More than 130 photos were shortlisted for the competition, conducted by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in conjunction with BBC Sky at Night Magazine. The competition, now in its eighth year, they received a record-breaking number of entrants, with more than 4500 entries from both amateurs and professional photographers from 80 countries.

These astronomy photographs aren’t limited to our planet, the milky way or the auroras. They include phenomenal shots of our Sun, Jupiter and the Lagoon Nebula (pictured above) located some 5,000 light years away. There are nine categories ranging from Skyscapes (astronomical subjects paired with earthly scenery) to People and Space. The winners will be announced on September 17 and the top prize is £10 000 (US ~$14,400). The shortlisted entries will be published in the competition’s official book that will be available in November.


Seven Magic Points © Rune Engebø (Norway). The rusty red swirls of the circular, iron sculpture Seven Magic Points in Brattebergan, Norway mirror the rippling aurora above.


Frozen Giant © Nicholas Roemmelt (Germany). The celestial curve of the Milky Way joins with the light of a stargazer’s headlamp to form a monumental arch over the Cimon della Pella in the heart of the Dolomites mountain range in northeastern Italy.


Wall of Plasma © Eric Toops (USA). A searing solar prominence extends outwards from the surface of the Sun. The ‘wall of plasma’ is the height of three times the Earth’s diameter.


Aurora Bird © Jan R Olsen (Norway). The vivid green Northern Lights resemble a bird soaring over open water in Olderdalen, Norway.


Crystal Brilliance © Tommy Richardsen (Norway). A mesmerising lunar halo forms around our natural satellite, the Moon, in the night sky above Norway. The halo, also known as a moon ring or winter halo, is an optical phenomenon created when moonlight is refracted in numerous ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere.


Venus Rising © Ivan Slade (Australia). During the seldom-seen alignment of the five planets in February 2016, Venus, Mercury and the Milky Way rose an hour before sunrise, and appear to be fleeing its early glow, overlooking Turrimeta Beach, Australia.


Northern Lights over Jokulsarlon, Iceland © Giles Rocholl (UK).A couple takes in the awe-inspiring sight of the Northern Lights streaking across the night sky over the lagoon at Jokulsarlon, Iceland on Valentine’s night of 2016.


The Disconnection Event © Michael Jäeger (Austria). Comet Lovejoy soars through the night sky in a green haze with an ion tail in its wake. The image shows Lovejoy appearing to lose its tail on 21 January 2015.

Cover photo – M8: Lagoon Nebula © Ivan Eder (Hungary). New stars are formed in the undulating clouds of M8, also commonly referred to as the Lagoon Nebula, situated some 5,000 light years from our planet.