Perhaps more than any other type of photography, astrological photography is just insanely impressive – the degree of patience and control required to get good photos of the night sky, let alone distant stars and planets, is hard to overstate.
That’s one of the reasons why there are awards dedicated entirely to astronomy photographs each year, and the shortlist has just been released for the biggest gong in this area – the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020.
The Green Lady
This stunning image has it all – aurora borealis dancing in the sky, in a sublime mix of greens and blues, all suspended above an ice-cold lake and the hints of human habitation in the form of that lit-up little town. It’s a bit of a wonder, really.
The Many Jets and Shells of Centaurus A
A jaw-dropping image of the infinite variety of space, with those promintent jets in the centre providing a science-fiction-esque focal point. This looks like something out of Star Wars, no?
The Moon And the Shard
The moon hovers ominously behind London’s Shard, all of it lit up perfectly to highlight the building’s consturction in contrast to the marvellou detail captured on the moon’s surface.
Aptly titled, this photo does an amazing job of balancing the deep, luscious colour of the aurora in the sky against the amazing show it’s projecting into the impossibly clear chunks of ice on the ground.
This photo takes you behind the curtain, showing a lone photographer taking a picture of an eclipse, and showcasing how remote one must travel to find the best light.
Sunspots AR 2741 and AR 2740
The sun’s surface is a bit of a mystery to most of us layfolk, but all know that sunspots exist – here’s an impressive image capturing just two of them, neither hintint at the enormous energy that their appearance actually entails.
A desesrt scene that’s beautifully lit by the smorgasbord of light and stars in the sky above, an entire constellation and galaxy suspended beautifully.
Dance Over the Swamp
We don’t often think of the Northern Lights as occurring over swamps, but here it is nonetheless, and that placid reflection is the key to this photo’s stellar success.
Once again, here the contrast between land and sky is the key, with the amazing purples and pinks of the night lighting up the frame beautifully, viewed from within a cluster of rocks framing the action.
Painting the Sky
That astonishing selection of colours, lighting up the sky in ways that most of us will never live to see in person, makes for an amazing tableau. We think this picture is named perfectly.
It’s no mean feat to capture the surface of a planet like Jupiter in this way, from such a distance, but this image gives you a great sense of the roiling chaos that its surface would actually be.
This great shot is a miracle of timing, with a wisp of cloud passing before the moon and causing this otherworldly effect – it’s like something out a giallo horror film, and we love it.
This amazing timelapse over some paddies is a beautiful reminder of how time’s passing is inevitable, and we particularly love how the exposure concentrates the lights of human dwellings in the frame’s centre.
Milky Way and meteor at Porthgwarra
The boat in the image is a perfect focal point, bridging the two near-symmetrical sides of the composition and drawing the viewer out. We can’t be the only ones who’d love to hop in for a journey, right?
The photographer’s dog Trixy is the star of the show here, artfully silhouetted in front of a bright and huge moon, the focal length making it seem almost impossibly large. It’s a delightful, fun composition.
Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Editing by Dan Grabham.