Some of the Most Spectacular Astronomy Images of 2018

By George Dvorsky on at

Over 4,200 photographs were submitted to this year’s Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest, but only these 25 images made it to the shortlist.

Header image: "Holding Due North" by Jake Mosher

This annual competition, organised by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, is now in its tenth year. Shortlisted entries from this year include a wide variety of subjects, from the sprawling Milky Way and storms on Saturn through to glacial tongues and the Northern Lights. If it’s got something to do with space, it’s all good. This year’s contest features nine different categories, and two special prizes. The winners will be announced on 23 October 2018.


A Magnificent Saturn by Avani Soares (Brazil)

Photographer Avani Soares stacked 4,000 frames to create these stunning images of Saturn, our Solar System’s second largest planet.


AR 2665 and Quiescent Prominence by Łukasz Sujka (Poland)

Sunspot AR2665 was a very active region in 2017, as demonstrated by this particularly impressive quiescent prominence—a glowing looped material of plasma—extending out from the Sun.


Aurora Borealis on the coast of the Barents Sea by Michael Zav’yalov (Russia)

A stunning photo of the Northern Lights taken near the village of of Teriberka in the Murmansk Oblast district of Russia.


Cable Bay by Mark Gee (Australia)

The magnificent Milky Way, as seen in Cable Bay near Nelson, New Zealand.


Cave Man by Brandon Yoshizawa (USA)

Battling light pollution in Malibu, California, photographer Brandon Yoshizawa managed to frame the Milky Way galaxy inside a sea cave, 25 miles away from the heart of downtown Los Angeles.


Colour-Full Moon by Nicolas Lefaudeux (France)

Our moon never looked as colourful as it does in this stunning photo captured by Nicolas Lefaudeux.


Daytime Moon by Helen Schofield (UK)

A glorious daytime pic of the Moon—you can almost reach out and touch it. Photographer Helen Schofield captured this image in Malaga, Spain while holidaying with her children.


Deep Space by Dave Brosha (Canada)

The remarkable underbelly of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacial tongue in Iceland.


Earth Shine by Peter Ward (Australia)

During a solar eclipse, the brightness of the solar corona obscures the Moon’s finer details.


Empyreal by Paul Wilson (USA)

More like unreal. A flared up aurora as seen near Christchurch, New Zealand.


Expedition to Infinity by Jingpeng Liu (USA)

Photographer Jingpeng Liu captured this exquisite shot of our galaxy in Badlands National Park, South Dakota. This panoramic view is a six-shot composite: three for the sky and three for the foreground.


First Impressions by Casper Kentish (UK)

Oooh, spooky Moon. With help from his grandfather, and a new telescope he got for his birthday, photographer Casper Kentish took this photo with an iPad.


Guardian of Tre Cime by Carlos F. Turienzo (Spain)

A panoramic image composed out of eight photos, showing the Milky Way emerging over the rocky Dolomites in Tre Cime, as seen on the left.


Guarding the galaxy by Jez Hughes (UK)

A super-impressive shot from Inyo National Forest near the White Mountains in California. This image was taken as thunderstorms threatened the Eastern Sierras, leaving little time for long exposures.


Holding Due North by Jake Mosher (USA)

A weathered juniper tree grows in Montana’s northern Rocky Mountains. The arced star trails in this long-exposure shot rotate around Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation of Ursa Minor.


Ice Castle by Arild Heitmann (Norway)

The Northern Lights reflect shades of green and yellow on the snow, as seen from a tiny cave on Lake Torneträsk, in Swedish Lapland.


Magic by Jingyi Zhang (Australia)

The Aurora Borealis bursting through the clouds and looming over the mountains in Stokknes, Iceland. The pools of water between the dunes are from melted snow, creating a perfect foreground.


Mosaic of the Great Orion & Running Man Nebula by Miguel Angel García Borrella and Lluis Romero Ventura (Spain)

The Orion Nebula (also known as Messier 42, M42, or NGC 1976) is a diffuse nebula situated in the Milky Way, south of Orion’s Belt in the constellation of Orion. Located 1,270 light-years away, it’s one of the brightest nebulae (a star-forming region) in the night sky, and is visible with the naked eye on a clear night.


NGC 6726 and NGC 6727 by Mark Hanson, Warren Keller, Steve Mazlin, Rex Parker, Tommy Tse, David Plesko, Pete Proulx (USA)

Wow. The vivid blues in this nebulae, located in the Corona Australis constellation, are stunning. The blue colour is produced by the light of hot stars, and reflected by silica-based cosmic dust.


Rigel and the Witch Head Nebula by Mario Cogo (Italy)

The Witch Head Nebula and Rigel, as seen from the Republic of Namibia in southern Africa.


Stars Over Sacred Mongolian Ovoo by Qiqige Zhao (Australia)

Star trails sweep over colourful and extraordinary sacred altars, called Ovoo, in Mingantu in Inner Mongolia.


The Eagle Nebula by Marcel Drechsler (Germany)

A shot of the Eagle Nebula, also known as Messier 16, taken at the Baerenstein Observatory in Germany.


The Neglected Neighbour by Kfir Simon (Israel)

The great Horsehead nebula appears to be looking down at the often ignored Nebula NGC 2023.


The Orion Nebula in 6-Filter Narrowband by Bernard Miller (USA)

The Orion Nebula, located 1,500 light-years away. For you photo geeks, this stunning image was produced by combining 36 hours of total exposure using six different filters; Ha, SII, OIII, Red, Green, and Blue.


Thunderstorm Under Milky Way by Tianyuan Xiao (Australia)

Stars loom over a thunderstorm in Florida.