Stars and space dazzle in Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2022

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 14
Andromeda Galaxy: The Neighbour (Image credit: Yang Hanwen & Zhou Zezhen - Astronomy Photographer of the Year 14)

A photograph of Comet Leonard’s disconnecting gas tail and an awe-inspiring shot of our neighboring Andromeda Galaxy are among the winning images of this year's Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. Hosted by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, photographers of all ages and backgrounds are invited to enter with the chance of winning up to £10,000. 

Now in its 14th year, the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition promises to showcase the very best in space photography from photographers all around the world. There is an adult section that is split into 8 categories which include aurorae, galaxies, our moon, our sun, people and space, planets, comets and asteroids, skyscapes, stars and nebulae. There is also a youth category open to budding astrophotographers aged 15 and under and images may also be entered as a group.

Read more: Best telescopes for astrophotography

This year's overall winner is Gerald Rhemann for Disconnection Event which shows Comet Leonards gas tail disconnecting and being carried away by the solar wind. The comet which will never be visible from the earth again was photographed on Christmas Day in Namibia and as soon as the judges saw it they voted unanimously to name Rhemann Astronomy Photographer of the Year.

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 14

Disconnection Event (Image credit: © Gerald Rhemann - Astronomy Photographer of the Year 14)

In an interview, Rhemann told ROG that “this award is one of the highlights of my astrophotography work. All the effort that went into making this image a success was worth it.” The competition judge and social media officer for the Institute of Physics also commented on how incredible the image was.

“When I first saw this image of Comet Leonard, I was blown away This picture of a recent visitor to our Solar System has been captured so beautifully. The stars in the background give the comet’s tail a magical appearance. I could stare at this image all day”

Two fourteen-year-old boys from China were awarded the top prize in the youth category for a spellbinding photo Andromeda Galaxy: The Neighbour. As the closest galaxy to the milky way, Yang Hanwen and Zhou Zezhen were able to capture its vibrant colors, bright shining stars, and the vast dark space surrounding it. Zezhen said he feels honored to have won the award adding “One of the main functions of astrophotography is to attract more people to fall in love with astronomy by showing the beauty of the Universe”.

Here are some of our favorites from the competition.

In the Embrace of a Green Lady. Winner of Aurorae (Image credit: © Filip Hrebenda - Astronomy Photographer of the Year 14)

Milky Way bridge across big snowy mountains. Winner of The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer (Image credit: © Lun Deng - Astronomy Photographer of the Year 14)

Moon big mosaic. Runner up in Our Moon (Image credit: © Andrea Vanoni - Astronomy Photographer of the Year 14)

The center of the Heart Nebula. Highly commended in Stars & Nebulas (Image credit: © Péter Feltóti - Astronomy Photographer of the Year 14)

International Space Station transiting Tranquility Base. Winner of People & Space (Image credit: © Andrew McCarthy - Astronomy Photographer of the Year 14)

Other prize-winning images include an image by Slovakian photographer Filip Hrebenda titled In the Embrace of a Green Lady and A Year in the Sun by Indian photographer Soumyadeep Mukherjee. 

Category winners, runners up and highly commended photographers have been awarded a cash prize of £1,500, £500 and £250 respectively while the overall winner took home an exciting £10,000.  

To see the full gallery of this year's winning images, head to the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 14 website

You might also like our guides and tips for astrophotography, and to discover the best lenses for astrophotography and the best star tracker camera mounts.

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.