The 15 Best Milky Way Photos of 2021

The 15 Best Milky Way Photos of 2021

Here are the winning photos from the 2021 Milky Way Photographer of the Year contest.

“Rising From the Dust,” Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.
“Rising From the Dust,” Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.
Image: Lorenzo Ranieri Tenti/2021 Milky Way photographer of the year

The winners of the 2021 Milky Way Photographer of the Year have been announced, and they’re providing some of the best views of our galaxy that we’ve ever seen.

Identifying individual stars in the night sky is pretty cool, but nothing compares to the view of the Milky Way as it stretches overhead. Stars are stark and lonely, but the Milky Way actually makes us feel like we’re part of something, even if that something is a spiral galaxy that measures more than 100,000 light years across.

Each year, Capture the Atlas, a travel photo blog, honors the best photos of our home galaxy. This year’s crop includes 25 images by 25 different photographers hailing from 14 different countries. Dan Zafra, editor of Capture the Atlas, selected the winners, choosing from a mix of professional and amateur photographers. Here are 15 winning photos from the 2021 Milky Way Photographer of the Year.

Senior staff reporter at Gizmodo specializing in astronomy, space exploration, SETI, archaeology, bioethics, animal intelligence, human enhancement, and risks posed by AI and other advanced tech.

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2 / 17

GranTeCan

GranTeCan

“GranTeCan,” La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain.
“GranTeCan,” La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain.
Image: Antonio Solano/2021 Milky Way photographer of the year
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3 / 17

The Watchman

The Watchman

“The Watchman,” Zion National Park, Utah, USA.
“The Watchman,” Zion National Park, Utah, USA.
Image: Brandt Ryder/2021 Milky Way photographer of the year
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4 / 17

Temple of the Sun

Temple of the Sun

“Temple of the Sun,” Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, USA.
“Temple of the Sun,” Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, USA.
Image: Bryony Richards/2021 Milky Way photographer of the year
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5 / 17

Navajo Nights

Navajo Nights

“Navajo Nights,” Bisti Badlands, New Mexico, USA.
“Navajo Nights,” Bisti Badlands, New Mexico, USA.
Image: Christine Kenyon/2021 Milky Way photographer of the year
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6 / 17

ADK Magic

ADK Magic

“ADK Magic,” Adirondack Mountains, New York, USA.
“ADK Magic,” Adirondack Mountains, New York, USA.
Image: Daniel Stein/2021 Milky Way photographer of the year
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7 / 17

Dragon’s Lair

Dragon’s Lair

Dragon’s Lair, Mungo, NSW, Australia.
Dragon’s Lair, Mungo, NSW, Australia.
Image: Daniel Thomas Gum/2021 Milky Way photographer of the year
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8 / 17

Nyctophilia

Nyctophilia

“Nyctophilia,” Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia.
“Nyctophilia,” Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia.
Image: Jose Luis Cantabrana/2021 Milky Way photographer of the year
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9 / 17

Mt. Taranaki Milky Way

Mt. Taranaki Milky Way

“Mt. Taranaki Milky Way,” Fanthams Peak, Mt. Taranaki, New Zealand.
“Mt. Taranaki Milky Way,” Fanthams Peak, Mt. Taranaki, New Zealand.
Image: Larryn Rae/2021 Milky Way photographer of the year
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10 / 17

Rising From the Dust

Rising From the Dust

“Rising From the Dust,” Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.
“Rising From the Dust,” Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.
Image: Lorenzo Ranieri Tenti/2021 Milky Way photographer of the year
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11 / 17

Paradise

Paradise

“Paradise,” Big Sur, California, USA.
“Paradise,” Big Sur, California, USA.
Image: Marcin Zajac/2021 Milky Way photographer of the year
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12 / 17

Night Lovers

Night Lovers

“Night Lovers,” Hormozgan Province, Persian Gulf, Iran.
“Night Lovers,” Hormozgan Province, Persian Gulf, Iran.
Image: Mohammad Hayati/2021 Milky Way photographer of the year
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13 / 17

Riaño

Riaño

“Riaño,” Riaño, Spain.
“Riaño,” Riaño, Spain.
Image: Pablo Ruiz/2021 Milky Way photographer of the year
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14 / 17

Chamber of Light

Chamber of Light

“Chamber of Light,” Utah, USA.
“Chamber of Light,” Utah, USA.
Image: Spencer Welling/2021 Milky Way photographer of the year
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15 / 17

Volcano and Cross

Volcano and Cross

“Volcano and cross,” Villarrica Volcano, Chile.
“Volcano and cross,” Villarrica Volcano, Chile.
Image: Tomas Slovinsky/2021 Milky Way photographer of the year
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16 / 17

Devil’s Throat

Devil’s Throat

“Devil’s Throat,” Iguazu Falls, Brazil.
“Devil’s Throat,” Iguazu Falls, Brazil.
Image: Victor Lima/2021 Milky Way photographer of the year
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17 / 17

Senior staff reporter at Gizmodo specializing in astronomy, space exploration, SETI, archaeology, bioethics, animal intelligence, human enhancement, and risks posed by AI and other advanced tech.

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