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Astronomy Photographer of the Year winners are out of this world!

Transport the Soul © Brad Goldpaint
(Image credit: © Brad Goldpaint)


American astrophotographer Brad Goldpaint has beaten 4,200 of entries from 91 different countries to win the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s title of Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2018. 

As well as securing the £10,000 top prize, his image takes pride of place in the exhibition of winning photographs opening at the National Maritime Museum in London from today. The annual competition is celebrating its tenth birthday, adn this year's winners and runners-up will be exhibited alongside the best images from previous years.

Taken in Moab, Utah, Goldpaint's winning photograph depicts a immense red rock formations with the Milky Way looming overhead on the right, and the Andromeda galaxy on the left. Judge Will Gater commmented: “For me this superb image is emblematic of everything it means to be an astrophotographer; the balance between light and dark, the contrasting textures and tones of land and sky and the photographer alone under a starry canopy of breathtaking scale and beauty.”

The Young Astrononomy Photographer of the Year award went to 15-year-old Italian Fabian Dalpiaz – who had been a runner-up in last year's competition. He got up at 5am to shoot of his breathtaking image of a meteor passing over the Dolomites, before heading to school. He wins £1,500 for his efforts and persistence.


"Transport the Soul"
by Brad Goldpaint (USA)
Moab, Utah, USA, 20 May 2017

Nikon D810 camera, 14mm, 20 secs at f/4, ISO 2500
Interested in adding a 'human element' to his photographs, once the quarter moon rose and revealed the incredible, vast landscape of the shale hills below the viewpoint, the lone photographer, to the left of the frame, stood motionless while he captured this photograph. The Andromeda Galaxy, quarter moon, Milky Way Galaxy, and position of the photographer all combined to create a captivating, harmonious portrait of a night sky photographer at work.


"Great Autumn Morning" by Fabian Dalpiaz (Italy - aged 15)

(Image credit: Great Autumn Morning © Fabian Dalpiaz (Italy - aged 15))

"Great Autumn Morning"
by Fabian Dalpiaz (Italy - aged 15)
Alpe di Siusi, Dolomites, South Tyrol, Italy, 16 October 2017
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 50mm f/1.8 lens, 8secs at f/2, ISO 6400, 

On an early Monday morning before taking an exam at school, the photographer decided to go out and take some images. Shooting on a 50mm lens the photographer got lucky and captured this incredible photograph of a meteor passing over the Dolomites. On the left side of the image the Moon is shining over the stunning landscape of the Alpe di Siusi with the autumn colours on the was illuminated only at 13.5 per cent.


"Sun King, Little King, and God of War" by Nicolas Lefaudeux (France)

 Sun King, Little King, and God of War © Nicolas Lefaudeux


"Sun King, Little King, and God of War"
by Nicolas Lefaudeux (France)
Unity, Oregon, USA, 21 August 2017
Nikon D810 camera, 105 mm f/1.4 lens, ISO 64, exposures of 0.3sec, 0.6sec and 1.3 secs

In order to capture this mesmerising image, the photographer chose the area according to weather forecasts to make sure he would get a clear sky. The image shows the Sun corona in all its glory during the August total solar eclipse. It is flanked on left hand side by the blue star Regulus – the little King – and by the red planet Mars on the right. The many radial streamers of the solar Corona are a real crown for the Sun King and the corona can be traced almost to 30 solar radii distance. The total exposure duration of 100-seconds was recorded in more than 120 individual images and it is a setup consisting of both a fast f/1.4 lens, at full aperture to get as much signal as possible, and a large buffer camera at base ISO to avoid overexposure. The inner corona was recorded using a longer focal length setup.


by Ferenc Szémár (Hungary) Gatyatető, Hungary, 17 February 2018

(Image credit: Circumpolar © Ferenc Szémár )


by Ferenc Szémár (Hungary)
Gatyatető, Hungary, 17 February 2018

Sony A99, Minolta 80–200mm f/2.8, 50 x 300-second exposures at f/2.8, ISO 640

The cold winter weather weaves a transparent blanket above the human settlements. If one rises above this coherent surface of mist, the colourful star trails can be brought together with the glowing lights of the cities. This extremely long capture sequence took half of the winter’s nights facing the clear northern sky as the circumpolar star Almach, also known as Gamma Andromedae, just touched the horizon.


"NGC 3521, Mysterious Galaxy" by Steven Mohr (Australia)

"NGC 3521, Mysterious Galaxy"
by Steven Mohr (Australia)
Carrapooee, Victoria, Australia, 13 February 2018

Planewave CDK 12.5 telescope, Astrodon Gen II LRGB, Baarder Hα lens at 2541mm f/8, Astro Physics 900 mount, SBIG STXL-11000 camera

The spiral galaxy NGC 3521 is located around 26 million light-years away in the constellation Leo and presents complex scene, with enormous amounts of surrounding dust and stray stars glowing far out from its disk. Emerging from the photographer’s colour data was a bright array of contrasting colour tones, generated by aging yellow-red stars, younger burning aggressively blue-white stars, and various nebulae throughout the disk. This image comprises approximately 20.5 hours of exposure time, collecting data in various filter types.


The Grace of Venus © Martin Lewis


"The Grace of Venus"
by Martin Lewis (UK)
St Albans, Hertfordshire, UK, 15 March 2017
Home-built 444mm Dobsonian reflecting telescope, Astronomik 807nm IR filter, Home-built Equatorial tracking platform, ZWO ASI174MM camera, 5.3 secs total exposure duration

Shortly before sunset, a slender and graceful Venus hangs low in the western sky, just 10 days before meeting the Sun at inferior conjunction. This is an infra-red image of that view, taken using a monochrome digital video camera mounted on a reflector telescope. The recording was processed to remove the blurring effects of our atmosphere and combine the video frames to create a single still image of the planet. The infrared filter used on the camera helps steady the effects of atmospheric movement.



The exhibition, Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year – 10 years of the world’s best space photography, will be open to the public from  24 October 2018 until 5 May 2019 from 10am to 5pm (closed 24-26 December) at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London SE10 9NF. Entry is £10 for adults, and £6.50 for concessions. 

Full details about how to enter next year's competition, and for more information about this year's exhibition visit the Royal Museums Greenwich website.

A book of the winners is available is published by Collins costing £25.

Read more:
Astrophotography: How-to guides, tips and videos

The best telescopes for astrophotography

Chris George

Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 

His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 8 Plus RED.