There are just two weeks left to enter the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016 competition run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with Insight Investment and BBC Sky at Night Magazine. Entries must be submitted by noon UK time on 14 April.
Each entrant can submit up to 10 images to the competition. You don't have to be an expert or have fancy equipment to be in with a chance of winning a prize. The competition has nine main categories, including Skyscapes (astronomical subjects such as the Milky Way or stars alongside earthly scenery), People and Space (photographs of the night sky with people or a human interest element) and Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year (for entrants under 16 years old).
Photographers can enter their images online by visiting
www.rmg.co.uk/astrophoto, where full competition rules and some top tips on photographing everything from star trails to galaxies and nebulae are also available. To inspire you, IBTimes UK presents some of this year's entries so far.
The Journey © Javier Martinez Moran The Milky Way arcs over the Caldera de Taburiente National Park in La Palma, Spain. The lights from Tenerife, La Gomera and El Hierro island are also visible in the distance. The image is an 18-shot panorama
Javier Martinez Moran
The Horsehead Nebula by José Jiménez Priego: Situated in the constellation of Orion approximately 1,500 light years from Earth is the Horsehead Nebula or Barnard 33. The appearance of its swirling cloud of dust and gases resembling a horse’s head when viewed from our planet has made it a popular target for astrophotographers and one of the most recognisable nebulae we know of. Photo taken in La Jonquera, Spain
José Jiménez Priego
Christmas 2015 Full Moon Rise by Andrew Yee: The full moon rises over Toronto on the evening of Christmas 2015, overlooking the CN Tower, which displays a Christmas lighting scheme for the festive season. The thinning cloud layer seen across the face of the Moon acted as a natural filter to reduce its brightness, offering the photographer a chance to try imaging the moonrise over the colourful skyline. The photographer had long wondered whether it would be possible to photograph such a moonrise scene and finally decided to take the technical challenge with his eight-year-old camera and was fortunate enough to obtain a memorable image
Polaris over Mount Hood by Garrett Suhrie: The North Star, Polaris, lines up almost perfectly with Mt Hood, Oregon, and reflects almost symmetrically in the beautifully serene, Trillium Lake. The photographer used a 20-minute exposure to create the star trails charting the rotation of the Earth, that add more symmetry to the image
While the Town Sleeps by Ross Campbell. A rare glimpse of the Aurora Borealis from the Scottish Borders town of Innerleithen. The photographer had witnessed the spectacle this far south once before, this instance was much more intense and vivid than the previous sighting. Using the viewpoint of an old Roman Hill Fort to get above the sleeping town below, the photographer captured the rare occurrence of the aurora in that location of the UK. The low cloud, lit up orange by the city lights of Edinburgh in the distance, adds to the variety of colour and contrast of the image
Monument Stars by Albert Dros: Taken during the lunar eclipse of 2015 the photographer took the opportunity to capture the dark sky that presented itself. Coming from a country (the Netherlands) with so much light pollution, this marked the first time the photographer had seen the Milky Way so clearly., and remarked that it was: ‘An experience I will never forget.’ This shot is a panorama comprised of three vertical shots
Supermoon Eclipse 2015 by Peter Folkesson: On 28 September 2015, a supermoon coincided with a lunar eclipse, resulting in this photograph of the Moon appearing a striking shade of red. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly behind the earth and is cloaked by our planet’s shadow and the only light that can be seen is refracted through it, creating the unusual colour of our natural satellite. Due to its red hue, a lunar eclipse is often referred to as a Blood Moon. Photo taken in Boras, Sweden
Seljalandsfoss Aurora by Paul Andrew: Taken during the photographer’s most recent stay in Iceland while running a photography workshop, the prospect of a clear evening on 11 October resulted in this stunning image of the aurora whirling above the waterfall (which was bathed in blue light) in Seljalandsfoss.
Heart without a Soul by Rob Little: The Heart Nebula or IC found some 7,500 light years away from Earth in the constellation of Cassiopeia. The photographer used selective colour changes to bring out the gold/brown/turquoise motif to make the image more striking. Photo taken from Corbridge, Northumberland, UK
Kayaks by Marcus Kiili: Vibrant aurorae in varying hues of blue and green swirl across the southern sky over Lake Äkäslompolo in Finland. The photographer remembers the difficulty of choosing where to capture the phenomenal display as the night sky was overtaken by the light show
Earth’s Rise Through the Universe by Gianni Krattli: Taken from the highest mountain of Hawaii, Mauna Kea (4,208m), overlooking the lava fields of the Big Island. At this point the camera was standing at a height of approximately 3,000m, capturing more stars than the photographer had ever done before. The Milky Way mirrors the alignment of the horizon soaring over the volcanoes Mauna Loa (4,169m) to the left, and Hualalei (2,521m) on the right
Bridge Between Stars by Lynn Hilborn: A passing storm clears the air over a pond on the north shore of Lake Ontario, and a covered footbridge lies between the seas of stars – in the night sky above and reflected in the water below
Aurora over Laksvatn Fjord by Matt Walford: Photographed in February 2016, the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, danced over a fjord near the town of Laksvatn, with the Milky Way looking to the left. The beautifully still fjord reflects the vivid colours swirling in the night sky above, with the orange tints of the town lights in the background. The image is a single shot with no compositing, only post processing to bring out the aurora, and some colour corrections
Aurora Australis by Russell Wiltshire: A vibrant Aurora Australis, also known as the Southern Lights, overlooks the Bass Strait, Australia. Captured on 7 November 2015, adjacent to the Point Addis Marine National Park, the natural lightshow was the result of a moderate G2 level geomagnetic storm due to an earlier coronal mass ejection from the sun
A Star is Born by Paul Howell: Taken from the village of Priddy in Somerset, England, this image shows the Running man and Orion Nebulae about 1,500 light years away from Earth
inners will be announced at an award ceremony at the Royal Observatory on 15 September 2016. The overall winner will receive £10,000. Winners of all categories including the Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year will receive £1,500. There are also two special prizes including The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer, awarded to an amateur astrophotographer who has taken up the hobby in the last year and who has not entered the competition before.
The winning photographs will be exhibited in the Observatory's Astronomy Centre from 17 September 2016. Entry to the exhibition is free.