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Incredible finalists from this year’s astronomy photographer 2021



Waterfall near Lapland under the northern lights

“Waterfall” by Anna Dobrovolskaya-Mints (Israel)
This waterfall is located in the middle of nowhere in Lapland, but the nearest town is Arvidsjaur. It was very cold, and while the photographer was waiting for the northern lights to start, she put the camera out to capture the star tracks. The last few frames captured the start of the Northern Lights, and the photographer decided to merge all the frames and got this extraordinary result. ”

Unique images of the stars are in full view at the Royal Observatory Greenwich announced its shortlist for the thirteenth competition for this year̵

7;s astronomy photographer. From the northern lights reflected in the waters of distant Sweden to an incredible view of spiral galaxies, the finalist images are an inspiring view of the world of astronomy.

While the overall winner, which will be announced in mid-September, will take home a cash prize of £ 10,000, there are many other categories that will also be rewarded. This includes Aurorae, People and Space, Our Sun and Galaxies. There is also this year’s young astronomy photographer, who is awarded a talented photographer under 16 years of age.

A quick scroll through some of the map list shows how much there is to see and explore in our universe. Some images are clearly rooted on Earth, while others, like Damian Peach’s portrait of Saturn, bring us far into the solar system. The finalists come from all over the globe and include well-known names like Andrew McCarthy, who is known for his impressive astrophotography in the backyard.

While we wait for the expert panel of judges to make the final verdict, take a look at some of our favorite photos from Astronomy Photographer of the Year.

Stars over the Château de Chambord in France

“Château de Chambord” by Benjamin Barakat (UK)
“This magnificent castle in Chambord, Center-Val de Loire, France was a fantastic location chosen by the photographer’s best friend and mentor Ralf Rohner, but it proved to be a challenging one as the castle had lighting intervals with a one minute break every 15 minutes. During the breaks, the photographer shot away and tried to get as many pictures as possible, and while processing them, he had to try to mimic the reflection due to the delay caused by the castle lamps. ”

Soul Nebula Shortlist of this year's astronomy photographer

“The Soul of Space (Close-up of the Soul Nebula)” by Kush Chandaria (UK), 13 years old
“Soul Nebula is one of those incredible targets that no matter where you point your telescope, there are always some incredible structures and details to uncover. This was the case with this image. With 14 hours of exposure, faint details and structures deep inside the fog began to emerge. The photographer chose to use narrowband filters to image this target and created a Hubble Palette composite. ”

Saturn by Damian Peach

“Saturn at its best” by Damian Peach (UK)
“This image shows Saturn almost best in 2020 and shows a wealth of details across the globe and the ring system. The famous polar hexagon can be seen around the pole at the bottom, while many other belts and zones are seen all over the planet. The famous division Cassini and Encke dominate the view of the rings. ”

Striped car lights under the Milky Way

“Star Watcher” by Yang Sutie (China)
“When the photographer was driving on the mountain road late at night and turned the corner, he saw a mound on the right side of the road. The mountains lined up and the Milky Way was lined up in front of the photographer so he stopped and climbed up the road, set the camera to shoot automatically and then drove back and forth in this curve. Then he climbed up the hill and integrated himself into the picture. ”

The sun's magnetic field

“Magnetic Field of our Active Sun” by Andrew McCarthy (USA)
This image shows how the Sun’s magnetic field pulls up parts of the chromosphere after a large sunbeam with the magnetic field lines on a crystal clear screen along the limbs in hydrogen alpha light. This also happened while a particularly large active region was along the surface of the solar disk. This was captured in black and white and treated partially inverted to highlight the contrast of the surface as well as the atmospheric features of the limbs, presented in false color for the aesthetic. This was one of the most interesting features of the Sun throughout 2020 and represents the first major activity since the start of the new solar cycle. The photographer is pleased with the way the treatment shows the nature of the Sun in a natural blue sky, while preserving close to the right hydrogen alpha tones. ”

Flame Nebula by Steven Mohr

“NGC 2024 – Flame Nebula” by Steven Mohr (Australia)
“The Flame Nebula, designated NGC 2024 and Sh2-277, is an emission nebula in the constellation Orion and lies about 900 to 1,500 light-years away from Earth. The bright star Alnitak (just outside the field of view at the top of this image), the easternmost star in Orion’s belt, shines energetically ultraviolet light into the flame and this knocks electrons away from the large clouds of hydrogen gas that are there. Much of the glow occurs when electrons and ionized hydrogen are recombined. Additional dark gas and dust lies in front of the light part of the fog, and this is what causes the dark network to appear in the center of the glowing gas. The Flame Nebula is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, a star-forming region that includes the famous Horsehead Nebula. ”

The Pleiades Star Cluster

“Pleiades Sisters” by Jashanpreet Singh Dingra (India), 14 years old
“This is a unique image of shining stars over the photographer’s area in winter. The Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters and Messier 45, is an open star cluster containing middle-aged, hot B-type stars in the northwestern part of the constellation Taurus. It is the closest star cluster and Messier object to Earth, and it is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky. The data in this image was processed in Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop CC 17 and Gimps. ”

The Milky Way of Menorca

“The Star Observer” by Antoni Cladera Barceló (Spain).
“Menorca was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1993 and credited as a starlight reserve in 2019. The photographer captured this image at this natural stone bridge shaped by water erosion. A guard stands alert under the stars, as the Milky Way is vertical above the natural arc. To add a soft and warm tone to the arch, the photographer used the light pollution from Mallorca, the neighboring island. The photographer wanted to humanize the landscape and incorporate the human element into the composition to prove that we are just guests of nature. ”

The Milky Way across the village in China

“The Milky Way of the Old Village” by Zhang Xiao (China).
Hongcun, an ancient village at the foot of Huangshan Mountain in China, has a history of more than 900 years, and in 2000 it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its existing buildings have the unique features of Hui Style Architecture from the Ming and Qing dynasties. A galaxy of stars fell on the famous Yuezhao Lake surrounded by ancient buildings. This picture was taken after kl. 1, the street lights in the village were off and no one was nearby. ”

Star Trail Over Dugi Otok in Croatia

“Dugi Otok – Variant A” by Ivan Vucetic (Croatia)
“The photograph shows a captivating star trail over Dugi Otok in Croatia and the extraordinary relationship between our planet and the universe in a way that the human eye cannot perceive. The photographer intended to capture the reflection of the stars on the water along with the sky, but in the long exposure time required for star tracks, the wind rose and the sea conditions were not favorable enough for a clear reflection of the stars. The photographer had to use the stars from the sky in the finishing to achieve the final result. ”

NGC 3981 Spiral Galaxy

“NGC 3981” by Bernard Miller (USA)
This is an image of NGC 3981. It is a spiral galaxy about 65 million light-years away in the constellation Crater. Its bladder appearance is due to the fact that its outer arms are removed by an interaction with another galaxy. The galaxy is part of the NGC 4038 group, which also contains the well-known interacting antenna galaxies. This group is part of the larger Crater Cloud, which in itself is a smaller component of the Virgo Supercluster. ”

Flame Nebula by Steven Mohr

“NGC 2024 – Flame Nebula” by Steven Mohr (Australia)
“The Flame Nebula, designated NGC 2024 and Sh2-277, is an emission nebula in the constellation Orion and lies about 900 to 1,500 light-years away from Earth. The bright star Alnitak (just outside the field of view at the top of this image), the easternmost star in Orion’s belt, shines energetically ultraviolet light into the flame and this knocks electrons away from the large clouds of hydrogen gas that are there. Much of the glow occurs when electrons and ionized hydrogen are recombined. Additional dark gas and dust lies in front of the light part of the fog, and this is what causes the dark network to appear in the center of the glowing gas. The Flame Nebula is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, a star-forming region that includes the famous Horsehead Nebula. ”

Close-up of sunspot in the sun

“Sunspot looks out into space” by Siu Fone Tang (USA)
This image shows a close-up of a sunspot and the plasma as it flickers and follows the magnetic lines generated by the sun. The image depicts what is called the chromosphere, this is depicted using a hydrogen alpha filter. The image consists of several frames that are stacked together and later enhanced using Photoshop. It is an inverted view that creates more contrast. ”

Composite Photo of the Rising Sun in Shanghai

“Sunrise of the Magic City” by Jiajun Hua (China)
“Shanghai is one of the most economically developed cities in China. The photo was taken 16 kilometers away from Lujiazui financial district. Each year, there are only a few weeks where photographers can capture the scene of the sun setting up the Central Business District (CBD). The photographer waited a few days and finally witnessed the sun rise from the most prosperous area of ​​Shanghai on a heavily polluted morning. The image is composed of four different exposures from the same perspective and records the process of sunrise. ”

Panorama of Aurora Borealis in Iceland

“Iceland Vortex” by Larryn Rae (New Zealand)
“This is a 250 panorama of Aurora Borealis in Iceland. The photographer encountered this estuary that reflected the sky perfectly on a good during freezing winter evening and captured the panorama first and took a shot of itself out on the ice. For the photographer, this is one of the most amazing aurora photos he has ever taken, and it sums up an awe-inspiring trip to Iceland in the winter that also emphasized the feeling of being a small part of the planet’s existence in light of a very strong natural environment. The panorama consists of twenty images, two rows of ten, taken on a Canon 5DMk3 and Canon 16-35mm. ”

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My Modern Met gave permission to display pictures of the Royal Museums Greenwich.

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