Shoot for the Stars

the win­ning im­ages from this year’s in­sight as­tron­omy pho­tog­ra­pher of the year award are, as you might hope and ex­pect, com­pletely out of this world…

Digital SLR Photography - - Snapshots -

With a top prize of £ 10,000 up for grabs, the 2017 in­sight as­tron­omy pho­tog­ra­pher of the Year award is a hotly- con­tested com­pe­ti­tion amongst the best of the as­tropho­tog­ra­phy world. Modern imag­ing tech­nol­ogy has opened up the world of as­tropho­tog­ra­phy to all of us – with enough time, prac­tice and knowl­edge you can just as likely cap­ture award- win­ning im­ages of space with an en­try- level DSLR as you can with a com­plex tele­scopic set- up. the an­nual award, now in its ninth year, runs in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Royal ob­ser­va­tory Green­wich and seeks to find the best in­ter­plan­e­tary im­ages from around the world ( and be­yond). this year it at­tracted al­most 4,000 en­tries from over 90 coun­tries!

the over­all grand prize win­ner was Rus­sian pho­tog­ra­pher artem Mironov, whose de­tailed im­age of the Rho ophi­uchi Cloud Com­plex, sit­u­ated ap­prox­i­mately 400- light years away from Earth, im­pressed judges in the Stars & Ne­bu­lae cat­e­gory. the win­ning im­age was taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mk ii over a whop­ping 15- hour ex­po­sure at iso 1600, us­ing a Sky- Watcher 200mm f/ 4 re­flec­tor tele­scope and HEQ5 pro mount. Judge and BBC Sky at Night mag­a­zine ed­i­tor Chris Bram­ley, com­mented: “Judg­ing the en­tries has been a real plea­sure but also tougher than ever, such was the all- round qual­ity of the field. i was par­tic­u­larly im­pressed that there were so many new and ground- break­ing re­sponses to the night sky cap­tured by the en­trants this year.”

the win­ning and com­mended im­ages are now on dis­play at the Royal ob­ser­va­tory as­tron­omy Cen­tre, in a free ex­hi­bi­tion un­til 28 June 2017. the book cel­e­brat­ing this year’s award is also on sale at the ex­hi­bi­tion, priced at £ 25. For more in­for­ma­tion on this year’s win­ning im­ages, and fu­ture awards, visit: www. rmg. co. uk/ as­trophoto

1) over­all win­ner & 1St Prize Stars & ne­bu­lae: The Rho Ophi­uchi Clouds by Artem Mironov: “the rho ophi­uchi cloud com­plex is a dark emis­sion and re­flec­tion ne­bula sit­u­ated ap­prox 460- light years away from our plane."

2) 1St Prize au­ro­rae: Ghost World by Mikkel Beiter: taken in stokksnes, ice­land, the pho­tog­ra­pher cap­tured the glow of the aurora in the wet sands as clouds roll across the moun­tains, al­low­ing him to cap­ture this other- worldly scene.

3) 1St Prize Peo­ple & Space: Wan­derer in Patag­o­nia by Yuri Zvezdny: “a stargazer stares up at our galaxy, the milky way, as they stretch across the night sky over the glacier ‘ white stones’ in the los glacia­res na­tional park, ar­gentina."

4) 1St Prize Plan­ets, comets & as­ter­oids: Venus Phase Evo­lu­tion by Roger Hutchin­son: the pho­tog­ra­pher cap­tures the chang­ing size of Venus with the same setup as the planet moves across our sky over a course of six months.

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