The Winners of the Royal Observatory’s Greatest Astronomy Images of 2021

The Royal Observatory Greenwich has introduced the winners of its thirteenth annual astronomy photographer of the yr competitors, with the £10,000 (about $13,793) high prize awarded for a good looking photograph of a photo voltaic eclipse titled “The Golden Ring.”

Astronomy Photographer of the 12 months is run by Royal Observatory Greenwich in affiliation with BBC Sky at Evening Journal. Now in its thirteenth yr, the competitors organizers say that it acquired over 4,500 entries from 75 international locations. The most effective of those distinctive images – winners, runners-up, extremely recommended and shortlisted – are showcased within the Astronomy Photographer of the 12 months exhibition on the Nationwide Maritime Museum, opening to the general public from beginning on September 18.

The competitors shared a few of its high picks earlier this summer time when it published its shortlist of images from the yr’s submissions.

The competitors options 11 complete classes: Aurorae, Galaxies, Our Moon, Our Solar, Folks and Area, Planets, Comets and Asteroids, Skyscapes, Stars and Nebulae, Greatest Newcomer, and Younger. “The Golden Ring” was captured by Shuchang Dong and was chosen as each the winner of the “Our Solar” class in addition to chosen as the general profitable picture. The {photograph} depicts the annular photo voltaic eclipse that occurred on June 21, 2020 in a robust and atmospheric composition.

On 21 June 2020 there was an annular photo voltaic eclipse and the photographer made positive to not miss it. He determined to go to Ali in Tibet to shoot it as a result of it has year-round sunny climate. Nonetheless, through the annular eclipse, there have been darkish clouds all around the sky. The anticipation was excessive however inside a minute of the annular eclipse, the sunshine pierced by the clouds and the photographer was fortunate to seize that second. Afterwards the Solar disappeared once more.

Under are the profitable photographs from the opposite classes accompanied by an outline of the photographs offered by the Royal Observatory.

Aurorae

Polar Lights Dance © Dmitrii Rybalka

As Third Officer, the photographer was maintaining watch that evening on the bridge of the ship when he observed within the sky a tiny white band approaching like a snake. He had a sense that there was one thing within the air, that one thing nice would occur and immediately knew that this was what he was ready for. He took his digital camera, went to the bridge wing, took place and began ready. A couple of minutes later, the sky was stuffed with shiny inexperienced lights dancing in darkness and shining over every part on their method. The photographer felt that it was his mission to share this magnificence with world.

Galaxies

The Milky Ring © Zhong Wu

An expanse of cosmic mud, stars and nebulae alongside the airplane of the Milky Means galaxy type an impressive ring on this picture. The panorama covers all the galaxy seen from planet Earth. It’s an bold 360-degree mosaic that took the photographer two years to finish. Northern hemisphere websites in China and southern hemisphere websites in New Zealand had been used to gather the picture knowledge. Like a glowing jewel set within the Milky Means ring, the bulge of the galactic centre is on the very high. The intense planet Jupiter is the beacon simply above the central bulge and to the left of the purple big star Antares. Alongside the airplane and virtually 180° from the galactic centre on the backside of the ring is the realm round Orion. The ring of the Milky Means encompasses two notable galaxies within the southern skies, the Magellanic Clouds.

Our Moon

Past the Limb © Nicolas Lefaudeux

In a perspective harking back to the Apollo missions, the lunar horizon is topped with a planet crescent. Nonetheless, this isn’t Earth rising above the Moon captured by a probe orbiting our satellite tv for pc, however Venus simply earlier than it will get occulted by the Moon, as noticed from Earth in daylight on 19 June 2020. The rocky horizon of the Moon seems very darkish in distinction with the gleaming crescent of the planet enshrouded by white clouds.

Folks and Area

Lockdown © Deepal Ratnayaka

With the UK being in full lockdown and journey restricted for a lot of months as a result of pandemic, astrophotography turned the photographer’s focus. This photograph sums up the yr 2020 – cramped however hopeful. The photographer’s six-year-old daughter, who’s at all times very within the photoshoots, was round through the arrange. Sat by the door, she was exhibiting the celebrities showing one after the other within the sky to her gentle toy Max, and this gave the photographer the right alternative to get her within the body which complimented the message behind the photograph.

Planets Comets and Asteroids

A Vibrant Quadrantid Meteor © Frank Kuszaj

The photographer was capturing with two different buddies on that chilly January night. They weren’t planning to seize meteors however distant galaxies and nebulas. After establishing the digital camera to shoot the Leo Triplet galaxies, the photographer and his buddies noticed a shiny inexperienced meteor burning proper earlier than their eyes because it tore by Earth’s ambiance. They had been all in awe of witnessing a fireball meteor. After they caught their breath, one of many buddies talked about that the photographer’s digital camera was pointing within the comet’s route, however the photographer thought there was no method he may have caught it as he had zoomed all the best way in. As soon as he checked his digital camera there it was – completely framed. The photographer had made a mistake and the lens wasn’t zoomed in, making the right composition for the meteor. This unbelievable picture was a contented accident.

Skyscapes

Luna Dunes © Jeffrey Lovelace

The smouldering crescent Moon floats in an ocean blue ambiance above quiet, glowing dunes of sand and the purple of the sundown has pale into the blue twilight. The photographer hiked deep into the dunes and finally discovered the foreground he had imagined for this shot. As soon as every part was assembled, he appeared up and there hung a shining sliver of a crescent moon outlining its darkish however seen face. This HDR/perspective mix integrates 4 photographs, all shot that night with the identical 70–200-mm lens, and from the identical tripod location. The pictures had been mixed in Photoshop and collectively they successfully replicate the chic scene the photographer witnessed that night.

Stars and Nebulae

California Dreamin’ NGC 1499 © Terry Hancock

The California Nebula, in any other case often known as NGC 1499, was captured over seven nights in 2021 utilizing broadband and narrowband filters, with a complete integration time of 16.1 hours. This emission nebula is round 100 light-years lengthy and 1,000 mild years away from Earth. It’s named California Nebula as a result of it seems to resemble the define of the US State of California. The uncooked knowledge was pre-processed and the celebrities had been eliminated utilizing a instrument referred to as Starnet, then later changed throughout post-processing with the extra naturally colored stars from the RGB (purple, inexperienced, blue) knowledge. On this Hubble Palette model the hydrogen-alpha is mapped to inexperienced, singly ionized sulphur (SII) is mapped to purple and doubly ionized oxygen (OIII) is mapped to the blue channel. Whereas the colors on this picture aren’t the true colors, the narrowband filters reveal far more of the hidden gasses not seen in a broadband picture.

Greatest Newcomer

Falcon 9 Soars Previous the Moon © Paul Eckhardt

4 hours earlier than the Falcon 9 launch, the photographer downloaded the Picture Capsules app, subscribed to flightclub.io and began an intensive analysis to grasp each functions and pinpoint a location the place the flight arc would overlap the Moon. When the photographer arrived on the launch location, he was blocked by a gate and ended up on a unique darkish highway with bushes blocking the launch pad. After making a fast calculation, he parked and ran 100 toes at midnight after which the sky lit up as Falcon 9 soared straight up, tilted over, and aimed proper on the Moon.

Younger

Household Picture of the Photo voltaic System © 至璞 王

That is a picture of the Solar, the Moon and the planets of the Photo voltaic System (besides Earth) taken through the yr of the rat in China. On this particular yr, the photographer felt very fortunate to supply the photographs of those celestial our bodies and for a scholar who has solely practiced astrophotography for one yr it was an awesome accomplishment.


All of the winners, runners-up, and shortlisted entries might be considered on the Royal Observatory’s website. This yr’s winners, shortlisted entries, and a choice of earlier winners might be printed by Collins within the competitors’s official ebook, out there for pre-order from the Royal Museums Greenwich shops and online beginning on September 30 for £25 (about $35).


Picture credit: Header picture by Shuchang Dong, all different photographs individually credited and offered courtesy of the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Astronomy Images of the 12 months 13 (2021).

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