Solar Eclipse and Lunar Dawn among Breathtaking Astronomy Photographer of the Year winners



The winners of Astronomy Photographer of the Year 13 have been announced and they are just mind blowing. A galaxy ring, lunar dawn, and fortuitous meteor will transport you off the planet and among the stars.

The first prize went to photographer Shuchang Dong with his beautiful and delicate “The Golden Ring” – a snapshot of an annular solar eclipse that took place on June 21, 2020, taken in Tibet.

“Perfection and simplicity, which can lead to a winning image. The square crop has tension with the mystical ring, and the hazy blue sky is complementary to the yellow ring. A true masterpiece, ”said competition judge László Francsics in a statement sent to IFLSience.

This year’s competition, hosted by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London, saw more than 4,500 entries from 75 countries. Other notable winning images include a magnificent view of the Northern Lights captured from the deck of a ship by Third Officer Dmitrii Rybalka, while on watch, a beautiful dawn of Venus on the rocky horizon of the Moon captured by Nicolas Lefaudeux, and an incredible star trail taken during the lockdown by Deepal Ratnayaka.

You can see the winning images in each category below. The finalists and highly recommended photos can be seen here. All images can be viewed at the exhibition which will open at the National Maritime Museum in London, UK on September 18.

Annie Maunder Prize for innovation in images

Winner – © Sergio Díaz Ruiz (Spain)

“Another Cloudy Day on Jupiter” – A new render of an image from the Hubble Space Telescope highlights the many different clouds swirling in Jupiter’s atmosphere.

Winner – © Leonardo Di Maggio (United Kingdom)

“Heavenly Fracture” – Spectacular images of the Cassini mission are edited and curated in this intriguing work of art.


Winner – © Dmitrii Rybalka (Russia)

“Polar Lights Dance” – The catch of green dawn near the Kara Strait is just too pretty for words. A magnificent natural spectacle.


Winner – © Zhong Wu (China)

“The Milky Ring” – This magnificent mosaic puts in a single image every part of the Milky Way, our galaxy, visible from Earth. Completed over two years and hailing from China and New Zealand, the composition includes the galactic bulge, the disc, a rogue Jupiter making a surprise appearance, and two additional galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds.

Our moon

Winner – © Nicolas Lefaudeux (France)

“Beyond the Limb” – This will remind people of Earthrise, the famous image of Apollo 8, but it’s not our planet rising above the Moon – it’s Venus!

People and space

Winner – © Deepal Ratnayaka (United Kingdom)

‘Lockdown’ – 2020 has seen a year of lockdowns and people staying at home around the world and is pictured in this stunning photo where the photographer’s six-year-old daughter and her cuddly toy Max are set against the trail of stars created by the rotation of the Earth. .

Planets, comets and asteroids

Winner – © Frank Kuszaj (United States)

“A colorful quadrantid meteor” – The definition of serendipity. The photographer was looking to capture galaxies, not meteors, but his camera was pointing in the right place at the right time, and the camera did not zoom into the galaxy, so the bright fireball was crossing the sky – a quadrantid meteor – was immortalized in this photo.


Winner – © Jeffrey Lovelace (United States)

“Luna Dunes” – A delicate crescent moon in the deep blue sky above the dunes of Death Valley National Park, California makes this landscape composition evocative and almost too perfect.

Stars and nebulae

Winner – © Terry Hancock (United Kingdom) –

“California Dreamin ‘NGC 1499” – The California Nebula is captured in this stunning image. These are not the true colors of the Nebula, the image was created by giving specific colors to certain gases (oxygen in blue, hydrogen in green, sulfur in red) creating this rainbow composition and highlighting what is this cosmic cloud made of.

Manju Mehrotra Family Trust Award for Best Newcomer

Winner – © Paul Eckhardt (United States)

“Falcon 9 Soars Past the Moon” – A product of absolute dedication. Four hours before the launch of Falcon 9, the photographer downloaded the Photo Pills app, subscribed to, and began intensive research to understand the two apps and locate a location where the arc of flight would overlap the Moon. When the photographer arrived at the launch site, he was blocked by a gate and ended up on another dark road with trees blocking the launch pad. After doing a quick math, it parked and ran a hundred feet in the dark, then the sky lit up as the Falcon 9 flew straight up, banked, and aimed straight at the moon.

Young astronomy photographer

© 王 (Zhipu Wang)

“Solar system family photo – Zhipu Wang, 15, won in the Young Competition category for his beautiful planetary portrait of the Sun, the Moon and the other seven planets of the Solar System (Earth excluded) made during the Year of the Rat in China.

“As a planetologist, I applaud the work that has gone into creating this photo,” said Judge Dr Sheila Kanani. “I also really like the composition with the Moon on the right side!”

And if you’re in the mood for more glorious images that don’t line the line between science and art but show you don’t even need a line, check out the recent contest winners. Nikon Small World and the Finalists of the Ocean Photography Awards.


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