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Cosmic fireworks, a stunning comet and a rare view of the moon: the shortlist for astronomy photographer of the year

An impressive array of finished photos is in the running for this year’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2022. The competition is organized by the Royal Observatory Greenwichin association with BBC Sky at Night Magazine† This year, the competition received more than 3,000 entries from passionate amateur and dedicated professional photographers, submitted from 67 countries around the world. These have been scaled down by a team of expert judges and we can now share our favorite images with you.

Shortlisted photos from this year’s competition include the harvest moon rising behind Glastonbury Tor in the UK, the lights of the Milky Way reflected by the world’s highest national highway in Tibet, one of the most detailed amateur maps of the moon’s south pole, and a partial eclipse over Italy.

One of the astronomical highlights of 2021 was the discovery of Comet Leonard, a long-period comet identified by GJ Leonard on January 3, 2021. It passed closest to Earth on December 12, 2021 and was the brightest. comet of the year. Nearly a quarter of the planets, comets and asteroids entries focused on this single comet, including a spectacular image captured in Namibia by Lionel Majzik. “Photography was hampered by cloudy weather, but I was delighted to capture the incredibly spectacular tail-mounted Comet Leonard,” Majzik said.

Astronomy Photographer of the Year, now in its fourteenth year, features an expert panel of judges from the worlds of art and astronomy. The winners of the nine categories of the competition, two special prizes and the overall winner will be announced on Thursday 15 September during a special online award ceremony. The winning images can be seen from Saturday 17 September in an exhibition in the Maritime Museum, alongside a selection of special images on the shortlist.

We won’t know for a while who will walk away with the top prize, but you can try to make your own predictions by checking out the high quality of this year’s entries.

Clouds of hydrogen gas

Clouds of hydrogen gas give way when the sun’s magnetic field lines break and collide. These features around the sun’s edge are known as prominences. Photo by Simon Tang/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Moonrise over Los Angeles

Moonrise over LA

An alignment of the moon, mountains and iconic skyline of Los Angeles, USA, after a winter storm on December 18, 2021. Photo by Sean Goebel/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard)

Comet Leonard was discovered by GJ Leonard on January 3, 2021 and came closest to Earth on December 12, 2021. The photographer used the robotic telescope at the Skygems Remote Observatories in Namibia on December 27 to capture this rare glimpse of a comet. explain that the solar system will leave and be seen no more. Photo by Lionel Majzik/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

above the moon south pole

Moon South Pole

A composite of images of the moon’s south pole taken on two different dates (giving different views of the region). It is one of the most detailed amateur maps of this part of the moon, which is very difficult to observe from Earth. Photo by Tom Glenn/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

The Half Moon Nebula

A deep false-color view of the Crescent Nebula in Cygnus, the result of shock waves from Wolf-Rayet star WR 134. Photo by Bray Falls/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Radio Telescope

The Mingantu Astronomical Observatory is located in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China and is mainly used to observe the sun. Here it is silhouetted against a starry sky. Photo by Liu Xuemei/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

solar inferno

solar activity

Each time astrophotographers capture an image, the sun looks different as new sunspots form, grow and eventually fade. In this image, all wavelengths of light have been filtered out except for a narrow red band (known as the H-alphaline) to reveal an active region of change of the sun. Photo by Stuart Green/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Circles and curves

star trails

Seen from under a quadruple arc, the stars orbit Polaris in this stack of 33 four-minute images. California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range fills the horizon, and Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the continental United States, is on the far left. Photo by Sean Goebel/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Busy star

Coronal activity so

This image shows the sun’s crowded surface and coronal activity at 10:08 a.m. universal time on Feb. 15, 2022. A powerful coronal mass ejection (CME), shown in deep red in the upper left corner, erupted on the far side. Intriguing formations of plumes (in blue), coronal holes (in dark teal), and filaments (brown) are also represented. To capture all this activity in one image, it was necessary to combine observations in multiple wavelengths in the extreme ultraviolet. Photo by Sergio Díaz Ruiz/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

solar wind energy

Aurora Turbine

A vibrant aurora borealis behind this wind turbine creates the illusion of an interaction between the two, as if the turbine was powered by the solar wind or scattered the aurora. This was taken during a strong Arctic storm in northern Finland. Photo by Esa Pekka Isomursu/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Saturn and its moons

Saturn Moons

Saturn’s moons are distributed almost symmetrically across the planet in this image, balancing the composition of the photo. Photo by Flávio Fortunato/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

More images from Science focus

A little devil riding a dragon’s head

nebula IC 1848

This image shows the nebula IC 1848 and its core, IC 1871. The Soul Nebula is an emission nebula in Cassiopeia. To the east of the Soul star cloud is a complex of nebulae and star clusters known as the Heart Nebula (IC 1805) of nebula and star cluster. Together they are often referred to as the ‘Heart and Soul’. Photo by Nan Wang, Binyu Wang

Changing Galaxies in Eridanus

Interacting Galaxies

This pair of interacting galaxies is located in the southern constellation Eridanus. They are remote members of the Fornax Cluster of galaxies. They are so close together that gravity has distorted one of the spiral arms of the larger galaxy, NGC 1532. These forces have led to star formations in both galaxies, but even more so in NGC 1532, where a new generation of stars has been created. Photo by Terry Robison/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Partial solar eclipse in H-alpha

partial eclipse

A partial solar eclipse, shot from the Veneto region of Italy, is shown reaching its maximum on June 10, 2021. It was a day of low solar activity, leaving this sharp image of the Moon in front of the Sun. Photo by Alessandro Ravagnin/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

The starry sky above the world’s highest highway

Mountains and stars

The illuminated National Highway 219, the highest national highway in the world, winds through the foreground, almost reflecting the majestic view of the Milky Way above. The two are separated by Kula Kangri, a mountain in Shannan Prefecture, Tibet. Photo by Yang Sutie/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Outskirts of the Carina Nebula

The main object in this image is a nebula cataloged as RCW 53c and is rarely captured by astrophotographers. Photo by Ignacio Diaz Bobillo/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

The Jovia family

Jupiter and moons

This image shows Jupiter with three of its largest moons also visible. The famous Great Red Spot is visible on Jupiter itself, along with many other spots and storms. Similar details are also visible on all three Jovian moons. The bright rays crater Osiris is clearly visible on Ganymede in the upper left. Photo by Damien Peach/Astronomy Photographer of the Year


The Northern Lights are pictured above the famous Icelandic mountain Vestrahorn. A panorama of three photos is combined into one image. Photo by Stefan Liebermann/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Reverse Minerals

Moon minerals

The lunar surface, although it appears gray and monochromatic, contains hidden colors in the soil, caused by various minerals. This color is too faint to see with the naked eye, but digital images allow astrophotographers to amplify the colors and reveal a different view of the moon. Photo by Noah Kujawski/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Ladder to the stars

Milky Way

A stacked shot with 15 single shots, taken in May 2021 at the Shiroka Polyana Dam, one of the darkest sports in Bulgaria. The Milky Way mirrors the direction of the ladder. Photo by Mihail Minkov/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Equinox Moon and Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury before full moon

A single exposure captures people enjoying the full Harvest Moon rising behind Glastonbury Tor in the UK in September 2021. Photo by Hannah Rochford/Astronomy Photographer of the Year

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