What the photographer says: ‘In this image Venus is higher and on the right of Jupiter. I take my place in the lower right corner of the frame to complete the diagonal formed by me, the two planets, the Pleiades and Taurus. With my red flashlight on my head, I illuminate the beach. At low tide, the sand is wet and is reflecting the blockhaus.’ Taken with Canon 5D Mark II camera; Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens at f/2.0; ISO 3200; 8-second exposure
How could anyone resist posting on the winning images in Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012 competition? Not only are the images beautiful, in the deep sense of the word, but they are also a reminder, at least for me, of our place in an infinite universe. I have seen photos that depict scenes that seem to recall the sheer magnificence of the skies at night but nothing, nothing, comes close to the reality. These images are, for me, sublime in the true sense of the word.
What the photographer says: ‘I was always going to be excited about this image given the exceptional seeing conditions M51 was photographed under and the addition of several hours of Ha data has really boosted the HII regions.’ Taken with Planewave 17-inch CDK telescope; Software Bisque Paramount ME mount; Apogee U16M camera.
What the photographer says: ‘This image was a test to see what would happen with such a long exposure. It was taken near dusk, with only two frames and an hour of exposure. This image has since become one of my best.’ Taken with Sky Watcher Equinox 80ED telescope; Celestron CG-5 mount; f/6.25 lens; Stock Canon 100D camera; ISO 800; 30-minute exposure
So, on a sunny Sunday morning as I’m sitting in a kitchen in Prague, I want to share these other worldly delights. The competition is now in in its fourth year and there were over 800 entries from astronomers and astrophotographers from around the world as well as from young astronomers.
“As a centre for science education and communication, the team at the Royal Observatory are keen to encourage an interest in astronomy at a young age to embed a life-long interest in the subject.” With the help of Sky at Night Magazine and the photo-sharing website Flickr, entries were submitted in the categories of ‘Earth and Space’, ‘Our Solar System’, ‘Deep Space’ and ‘Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year’ as well as ‘Best Newcomer’ and ‘People and Space’ and ‘Robotic Scope’.
The winning images are on show at a free photo exhibition at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London, open daily from 10.00-17.00.