Out-of-this-world photography recognised in international competition

By AG Staff Writer August 2, 2016
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Amazing shortlisted images from the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016 competition, run by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

FROM CAPTURING THE dramatic Total Solar Eclipse in Indonesia in March this year, to bringing in the New Year with a sensational aurora australis in New Zealand – these stunning astronomy images are enough to transport you out of this world. 

The photos are shortlisted in the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016 competition, run by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, along with BBC Sky at Night Magazine and Insight Investment.

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The competition consists of nine categories: skyscapes; aurorae; people and space; our Sun; our Moon; planets, comets and asteroids; stars and nebulae; and galaxies. Over 4500 photos were entered by amateur and professional astronomy photographers from 80 countries around the world, including Australia.

The winning photos will be announced on 15 September at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich in England, and displayed at the observatory from 17 September. Founded in 1675, the Royal Observatory is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian.

Here’s our pick of some of the best shortlisted astronomy photos:


Phil Hart (Australia)

astronomy photography competition

The Southern Cross constellation of the Milky Way, visible in the southern sky creates a guiding light along Bucklands Lane in Central Goldfields Shire, Victoria.

Venus Rising

Ivan Slade (Australia)

astronomy photography competition

During the seldom-seen alignment of the five planets in February 2016, Venus, Mercury and the Milky Way rose an hour before sunrise, and appear to be fleeing its early glow, overlooking Turrimeta Beach, Australia.

Diamond Ring

Melanie Thorne (UK)

astronomy photography competition

The dramatic moment that the Sun appears to be cloaked in darkness by the Moon during the Total Solar Eclipse of 9 March 2016 in Indonesia. The Sun peers out from behind the Moon and resembles the shape of a diamond ring, caused by the rugged edge of the Moon allowing some beads of sunlight to shine through in certain places.


Lee Cook (UK)

astronomy photography competition

With temperatures close to -15 degrees, it’s not surprising that the photographer was the only soul in the vicinity of Plateau Hut in Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand. The lonely hut, dwarfed by the snowy mountains of the park, contrasts with the abundance of star trails seemingly encircling the peaks of the Anzac.

A Fork, a Spoon and a Moon

Andrew Caldwell (New Zealand)

astronomy photography competition

A Royal Spoonbill sits atop of a branch basking in the glow of the nearly Full Moon in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.

Antarctic Space Station

Richard Inman (UK)

astronomy photography competition

A view of the Halley 6 Research Station situated on the Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica, which is believed to be the closest thing you can get to living in space without leaving Earth, making it perfect to be used for research by the European Space Agency. As the Sun’s light dissipates into the horizon, the aurora can be seen swirling overhead.

Five Plus Two

Der Mits (Greece)

astronomy photography competition

The rare opportunity of seeing five planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter – gleaming in the night sky over the Alps captured on camera. On the left hand side is the Dufour peak of the MonteRosa range and on the right hand side of the frame is the instantly recognisable peak of the Matterhorn.

Celestial Veil

Yuyun Wang (Singapore)

astronomy photography competition

The natural light of the Milky Way battles with the light pollution over the fishing village, or kelong, in Batu Pahat, Malaysia. In the lower right hand corner, there is also bioluminescence in the waters at the bottom of the kelong.

Auroral Nuggets

Stephen Voss (New Zealand)

astronomy photography competition

The Universe puts on its very own light show to see in the New Year on 1 January 2016, as the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights, arcs over Nugget Point on the South Otago coast of New Zealand.

ISS under Venus and the Moon

Philippe Jacquot (France)

astronomy photography competition

Taken from atop the Semnoz Mountain, the International Space Station arcs over the city of Annecy, France, as Venus and the Moon loom overhead. (Image: Lucy Leahey)