The winners of the 2019 Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year have been announced. This year’s crop features stunning images, from auroras and sunspots to galaxies and nebulas – along with a perspective of a lunar eclipse unlike anything we’ve seen before.
This is the 11th running of the contest, which is held by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in cooperation with Insight Investment and BBC Sky at Night Magazine. A record 4,600 entries were submitted this year from 90 countries. For this year’s contest, the organisers introduced a new category: The Sir Patrick Moore prize for Best Newcomer category, which, in its inaugural year, was awarded to two different photographers.
“Into the Shadow:” The overall winner of the competition, and winner of the Our Moon category. (Image: László Francsics, Hungary)
Hungary’s László Francsics won top prize for his photo, “Into the Shadows,” earning him £10,000. The image depicts 35 phases of the total lunar eclipse on 21 January 2019.
“In a year that celebrates 50 years since the first lunar landings it is fitting that this year’s overall winning image captures such a dynamic and captivating view of our Moon,” said competition judge Oana Sandu from the European Southern Observatory in a press release. “A worthy winner indeed.”
“Sky and Ground, Stars and Sand:” Co-winner of Best Newcomer. Taken in north-central China. (Image: Shuchang Dong, China)
Prizes in the Best Newcomer category were awarded to Shuchang Dong for his beautiful monochrome photo of sand dunes and stars in north-central China, and to Ross Clark for his image of the Orion constellation.
“The Jewels of Orion:” Co-winner of Best Newcomer. The image features a strip of the Orion constellation. (Image: Ross Clark, UK)
“Shells of Elliptical Galaxy NGC 3923 in Hydra:” Winner of Galaxies category. (Image: Rolf Wahl Olsen, Denmark)
A stunning photo of the crescent Moon taken during the daytime by Rafael Ruiz was awarded runner-up in the Our Moon category, while a visually intense photo of stellar prominences shooting up from the Sun like fireworks, snapped by Alan Friedman, won top prize in the Our Sun category. Winner of the galaxies category went to Rolf Wahl Olsen, who snapped a cool pic of elliptical galaxy NHG 3923.
“A Little Fireworks:” Winner of Our Sun category. A vivid close-up of the solar horizon, with what appears to be fireworks. (Image: Alan Friedman, USA)
“The Watcher:” Winner of the Aurorae category. This photo was taken on Mount Offersøykammen in Norway. (Image: Nicolai Brügger, Germany)
Other winners included Ben Bush for his photo of himself, his dog Floyd, and the glorious sky above, Andy Casely for a series of images depicting a global dust storm on Mars, László Francsics for an infrared version of Saturn, Wang Zhen for a stunning starscape taken in Mongolia, and Ignacio Diaz Bobillo for his photo of nebulae, among other contest winners.
“The Return of Green Lady:” Highly commended photo in the Aurorae category. The image was taken at Limfjord, Denmark. (Image: Ruslan Merzlyakov, Latvia)
“Ben, Floyd and the Core:” Winner of the People and Space category. The image shows the photographer and his dog, Floyd, underneath Mars, Saturn and the galactic core of the Milky Way galaxy. (Image: Ben Bush, UK)
“Death of Opportunity:” Winner of Planets, Comets and Asteroids. The images show the progress of the global-scale dust storm that struck the planet in 2018, knocking out the NASA Opportunity rover. (Image: Andy Casely, Australia)
“Every year the standard rises, and entrants continue to find creative new ways to express their artistry,” said Tom Kerss, a contest judge and an astronomer at the Royal Observatory, in a press release. “This year’s selection contains so many unique approaches to astrophotography – real love letters to the art form, which stay with you long after you’ve seen them. I’m looking forward to the discussions these images will inspire about our shared sky, and the ever-expanding field of capturing and interpreting it. With such a beautiful collection to talk about, the competition really has become astrophotography’s ‘World Cup’.”
“Infrared Saturn:” Winner of Robotic Scope category. (Image: László Francsics, Hungary)
“Across the Sky of History:” Winner of Skycapes category. The image was taken in the Mongolian region of Ejina. (Image: Wang Zheng, China)
“Statue of Liberty Nebula:” Winner of Stars and Nebula. The image shows a pair of stellar nurseries. (Image: Ignacio Diaz Bobillo, Argentina)
Eleven-year-old Davy van der Hoeven from the Netherlands won top prize in the Young Astronomy of the Photographer of the Year category. His photo, “Stellar Flower,” shows the stunning Rosette Nebula.
“Stellar Flower:” Winner of Young Astronomy Photography of the Year. The image is of the Rosette Nebula. (Image: Davy van der Hoeven, age 11, Netherlands)
Runner up in the Young Astronomy of the Photographer of the Year category went to 14-year-old Matúš Motlo from Slovakia, who captured sunspots on the Sun.
“AR 12699 Sunspot:” Runner up, Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year. (Image: Matúš Motlo, age 14, Slovakia)
Congratulations to all of these winners. The photographs will be displayed at the National Maritime Museum in London starting today.
Featured image: Rafael Ruiz, Spain