Astrophotography is one of the most challenging and technical photography genres out there, so you know that the winners of the acclaimed Astrophotography Photographer of the Year awards have got to be next level epic.
Run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the annual contest sees submissions from around the globe and is now in its twelfth year, 2020’s edition received over 5,000 entries from six continents and the winners, runners-up, highly commended and shortlisted – are showcased in the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in London from October.
Like any contest however, there needs to be a winner and 2020’s Photographer Of the Year title was claimed by French photographer Nicolas Lefaudeux. has beaten thousands of amateur and Nicolas scoops £10,000 top prize for his image of the Andromeda Galaxy, which was taken in Forges-les-Bains, Île-de-France. Competition judge Ed Robinson said: “To most of us, our closest neighbouring galaxy Andromeda can also feel so distanced and out of reach, yet to create a photograph that gives us the impression that it is just within our physical reach is truly magical, and somewhat appropriate as we adjust after such socially distanced times.”
Picking up the first place title in the Skyscapes category was Thomas Kast, who captured this mind-bending image of the sky – entitled ‘Painting the Sky’ using a Nikon D850. One judge commented; ‘Nacreous clouds are one of the most enchanting atmospheric phenomena. Like the photographer, the judges were left spellbound by this picture. It captures delightfully the rich palette and graceful brushstrokes that can be found in nature.’
Top honours in the ‘Our Sun’ category went to Alexandra Hart, for a stunning frame entitled ‘Liquid Sunshine’. Captured using a Celestron C11 XLT Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope at f/50 and a Baader Astrosolar ND3.8 Continuum filter, one judge commented; ‘This is a stunning example of how the ‘quiet’ Sun is never truly quiet. While the Sun may be less active, the nuclear fusion ongoing below its surface sustains all life on our little world.’
Collecting top honours in the ‘Our Moon’ category was Alain Paillou, who’s image – entitled; ‘Tycho Crater Region with Colours’ – showed a familiar subject in a whole new way. The shot was captured with the help of a Celestron C9.25 telescope.
The Aurorae category is always one of the most eagerly awaited and hotly contested divisions and this year Nicholas Roemmelt took home the winner’s spot for his image entitled; ‘The Green Lady’. Nicolas used a Canon EOS R paired with a 14mm lens to capture the epic aurora over the northern Norwegian skies.
Scale played a huge part in the winner of the Planets, Comets and Asteroids Winner category with the winner announced as Łukasz Sujka for an image entitled ‘Space Between Us’ which was captured using a Sky-Watcher Newtonian 10″ telescope at f/4.8 paired with a Baader MPCC Coma Corrector filter.
A pure night sky filled with passing satellites was the subject matter for Rafael Schmall, who was declared winner of the ‘People and Space’ category for an image entitled; ‘The Prison of Technology’, which was captured using a Sky-Watcher Quattro 200/800 astrograph telescope paired with a Canon 6D.
Some images from the contest were enough to make your jaw drop, and none better than Peter Ward’s image, entitled; ‘Inferno’, which the judges named winner of the ‘Stars and Nebulae’ category.
Taking the special ‘Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer’ award was Bence Toth for an image entitled; ‘Waves’. The frame featured a total exposure time of 7 hours and 50 minutes.
Lastly, Alice Fock Hang proved you don’t need experience to take a great astro image after picking up the Young Competition title for a shot entitled ‘The Four Planets and the Moon’ that was shot using a Nikon D610 paired with a 35 mm f/3.2 lens.