This Incredible Aurora is 2014's Best Astronomy Photograph

By Chris Mills on at

Another year, and another set of winners of the Royal Observatory's Best Astronomy Photographer. This year's overall winner is this insane shot of an aurora captured over a glacier, which is so otherworldly it looks like it was made with special effects.

The winning shot was captured by the UK's James Woodend over the Vatnajökull Glacier in Iceland, using a Canon 5D and a ten-second exposure. The judges sum everything up perfectly:

'This beautiful image captures what it's really like to see a good aurora – the landscape, with the reflections which seem almost sharper than the shapes in the sky, is a terrific bonus too! This is the first time an aurora image has won the overall prize: I think what captivated the judges was that it really looked like the aurora was right in front of the viewer – there's no need for exaggerated or stretched colour.'

Woodend wasn't the only winner, though: there's a whole series of individual-category images that won prizes – everything from telescopic glimpses at alien planets to shooting-star landscapes. The full list is worth a look, over on the Royal Observatory's website. [Royal Museums Greenwich]