11 of the Best Damn Astronomy Photos You'll See This Year

Yesterday, the winners of the fifth annual Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition were finally announced—and man oh man, are they stunning. Over 1,200 amateurs and pros submitted shots, ranging from stunning aurora borealis images to a panorama taken by a ten-year-old whiz kid.

The photos hail from an incredibly diverse set of locations too, including Norway, Ireland, China, and the US of A. The finalists each give a description of their process and inspiration, with more details about the equipment they used and what exactly they captured, and the site even offers some helpful how-to guides if you’re keen to give it a try.

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If you’re in London, you can check out the full exhibition at the Royal Observatory’s Astronomy Center through February 23rd. The rest of us can sit and scroll while contemplating life, the universe, and everything. (This is, somewhat embarrassingly, the soundtrack that's going on in my head...)


Earth and Space Winner: Guiding Light to the Stars by Mark Gee (Australia).


Runner-up: Green Energy by Frederik Broms (Norway).

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Deep Space Winner: Celestial Impasto: sh2-239 by Adam Block (USA).

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Runner-up: Rho Ophiuci and Antares Nebulae by Tom O'Donoghue.

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Solar System Winner: Corona Composite of 2012: Australian Totality by Man-To Hui (China).

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Runner-up: Magnetic Maelstrom by Alan Friedman (USA).

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The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer: Venus Transit, Foxhunter's Grave, Welsh Highlands by Sam Cornwell (UK).

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People and Space: Moon Silhouettes by Mark Gee (Australia).

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Robotic Scope: The Trapezium Cluster and Surrounding Nebulae by László Francsics (Hungary)

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Young Astrophotographers Winner: The Milky Way Galaxy by Jacob Marchio (USA), age 14.

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Runner-up: Goodbye Sun, Hello Moon by Ariana Bernal (USA), age 10.

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