Ever considered trying out some astrophotography? The genre is seen as difficult to master but has become more accessible in recent years thanks to advances ISO technology, the availability of fast aperture lenses and some cameras even have dedicated celestial features, such as the Pentax K-1 MkII’s sensor, which can shift as it tracks the movement of stars.
So, if you were ever after some astro photography inspiration, then check out these shortlisted images from the 2019 Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest. Viewed as the most prestigious competition of its kind, the contest is now in its 11th year and this time around, saw over 4,000 entries.
While the judges have a little more time to consider their final selections (the overall winner will be announced on September 12 during a ceremony in London(, we’ve got 9 shortlisted images to share and inspire you – plus the info and stories behind them…
This image, entitled; ‘Deep in the Heart of Mordor – NGC 7293’ was captured by Andrew Campbell using GSO RC8CF 200 mm Ritchey-Chretien reflecting telescope at f/5.8, Sky-Watcher EQ6 Pro mount, QSI 683 WSG 8 camera and Andrew commented: ‘NGC 7293, also known as the Helix Nebula is so-named because it appears that you are looking down the axis of a helix. In reality, it is now understood to have a surprisingly complex geometry, including radial filaments and extended outer loops. The Helix Nebula is one of the brightest and closest examples of a planetary nebula, a gas cloud created at the end of the life of a sun-like star. The remnant central stellar core, destined to become a white dwarf star, glows in light so energetic it causes the previously expelled gas to fluoresce. This image is the result of narrowband data on the Helix Nebula, gathered over two months from suburban Melbourne, Australia.’
Image by Andrew Campbell/2019 APOTY
Using a Nikon D850 paired with a 15mm f/2.8 lens, Yifan Bai captured this image, entitled; ‘Albany Milkyway’. Each year around September and October, the Milky Way is at its best position. The galactic core is right in the middle of the sky. The photographer stood on the cliff by the sea and with his torch he lit up the natural bridge, which looks like a giant hole. The bridge was created by the gradual wearing away of the granite rock by the great Southern Ocean. This is a panoramic image of 25 single exposures combined.
Image by Yifan Bai/ 2019 APOTY
László Bagi’s composite image used an exposure totaling 29 hours and features the Devil’s Head Nebulae Complex. This image of the Devil’s Head Nebulae Complex is not a traditional RGB photo but a three-colour Hubble Palette colour scheme. Due to this technique different details, structures and depths are visible. Located 3,000 to 3,500 light years away from Earth, its material consists of ionized hydrogen, dust and other gases.
Image by László Bagi/2019 APOTY
Sutie Yang used a Nikon D850 paired with a 14mm f/2 lens to capture this image, entitled ‘Aurora outside the tiny cave’, which was shot in Seljalandsfoss, Iceland . Sutie explained; ‘The small cavern perfectly frames a mesmerising view of the aurora flaring up, the shining stars and the magnificent Seljalandsfoss waterfall situated on the South Coast of Iceland with a drop of 60 metres. The photographer stood there thinking about this view and how our universe is just a small part of a much greater space.’
Image by Sutie Yang/ 2019 APOTY
Entitled ‘The Sculptor Galaxy’ and created by Bernard Miller and Martin Pugh, this frame is an image of NGC 253, also known as the Sculptor Galaxy – a spiral galaxy about 11 million light years away in the constellation Sculptor.
Image by Bernard Miller and Martin Pugh/ 2019 APOTY
Nicolai Brügger used a Nikon D810 paired with a 15mm f/2.8 lens to capture this image entitled; ‘Road to glory’. Shot in Giau Pass, Dolomites, Nicolai used a composite of images, including 30x 20-second exposures and a separate exposure for the foreground.
Image by Nicolai Brügger/ 2019 APOTY
This incredible image was captured by Steven Mohr in Victoria, Australia and is entitled ‘The Running Man Nebula’.The Running Man Nebula can be found in the constellation of Orion, located some 1,500 light years from Earth.
Image by Steven Mohr/2019 APOTY
This panorama, entitled ‘The last of us 2.0’ and captured by David Ros Garcia, was taken in the caves of Zaén, formed approximately 11 million years ago. David used a Canon 6D, paired with a 15mm f/2.5 lens and the panoramic was formed by five shots merged together.
Image by David Ros Garcia/ 2019 APOTY
American photographer Jason Perry used a Nikon D850 camera paired with a 14 mm f/2.8 lens to capture this image, entitled; ‘Catching Light’. The photo shows Bodie Island Lighthouse in the Outer Banks of North Carolina sized up with the Milky Way and the starry sky exploding in the background.
Image by Jason Perry/ 2019 APOTY