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.
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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.
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.
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 .