The Earth hasn’t really been the best place to live for the past year or so. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been fantasizing about moving to some other planet. Stunning photos from the Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest definitely make these fantasies even more vivid, and I’m happy to share with you this year’s winning photos.
The contest shared 2020 shortlists earlier this year, and I couldn’t wait to see the winners. French photographer Nicolas Lefaudeux has won the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s title of Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020. He has beaten over 5,000 entries from photographers across six continents, and his image also won the Galaxies category.
Taken in Forges-les-Bains, Île-de-France, the photo shows the Andromeda Galaxy shot in a very unusual way. It looks as if it were an object taken in the photographer’s own room. It’s almost like something a few inches away from your lens, instead of 2.537 million light-years. I think it’s just incredible and I spent a while staring at the photo. The judges, apparently, had the same impression. Competition judge Ed Robinson said:
“To most of us, our closest neighboring 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.”
The Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 has selected winners in nine categories:
- People and Space
- Our Sun
- Our Moon
- Planets, Comets and Asteroids
- Stars and Nebulae
- Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year
There also were two special prizes: The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer and The Annie Maunder Prize for Image Innovation Photos produced using publicly available images. Dark River by Julie F. Hill (UK) has been named as the inaugural winner of the Annie Maunder Prize for Image Innovation, and Waves by Bence Toth was selected as the Best Newcomer.
As for young astrophotographers, 10-year-old Alice Fock Hang (Réunion) takes home the top prize for her incredible image The Four Planets and the Moon, showing our moon, Venus, Mercury, the star Antares, Jupiter, and Saturn over the Indian Ocean.
The Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year is run by Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with Insight Investment and BBC Sky at Night Magazine. Now in its twelfth year, the competition received tens of thousands of entries. The best of these exceptional photographs – winners, runners-up, highly commended and shortlisted – are showcased in the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, which opens to the public from 23 October 2020 with tickets on sale from 14 September 2020.
This year’s overall winner has won a £10,000 prize. Along with other category winners, his photos will take place in the exhibition opening at the National Maritime Museum on 23 October 2020. In addition, this year’s winners, shortlists and a selection of previous winners will be published by Collins in the competition’s official book. You’ll be able to get it at Royal Museums Greenwich shops and online from 11 September, and it will hit all bookstores from 17 September for £25.
Take a look at the remaining category winners below, and make sure to visit the contest’s website for more details or if you’d like to submit images.