Icelandic northern lights, half moon, sun hell, giant full moon… The selection was breathtaking, but the jury finally decided. It’s a comet that won this year’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year (APY) and not just any comet, Comet Leonard, which made a very remarkable but unique passage through our firmament in 2021.
Organized by the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, Astronomy Photographer of the Year strives each year to reward the most beautiful astrophotographic images taken around the world by professionals or amateurs. In 2021, an annular solar eclipse observed from a region in Tibet by photographer Shuchang Dong won the grand prize.
the Christmas comet
After the golden ring, it’s time for a spectacular heavenly guest. It was the Austrian Gerald Rhemann who immortalized the comet Leonard, C / 2021 A1 of his scientific name, while he was in Namibia on Christmas Day. The image shows a fragment of the comet’s tail detaching and being carried by the solar wind.
IN PICTURES, IN PICTURES Astronomy Photographer of the Year: and the images awarded in 2022 are…
“This award is one of the highlights of my work in astrophotography. All the effort that went into making this picture a success was worth it“, responded Gerald Rhemann. Discovered in January 2021, C/2021 A1 illustrated itself as the brightest comet of the year and has since left the Solar System, eliminating any chance of observing it again from Earth. .
“When I first saw this image of Comet Leonard, I was blown away” said Melissa Brobby, a member of the jury quoted in a press release.The image of this recent visitor to our solar system was captured so beautifully. The stars in the background give a magical appearance to the comet’s tail. I could stare at this picture all day“.
On the youth side, two 14-year-old Chinese, Yang Hanwen and Zhou Zezhen, won the hearts of the judges with their snapshot of one of the largest and closest galaxies to us: the Andromeda Galaxy. “I think this picture shows how beautiful our nearest neighbor looksYang Hanwen explained.
“Showing the beauty of the universe”
“I am honored and thank you to the judges“, indicated for his part Zhou Zezhen for whom”one of the main goals of astrophotography is to inspire more people to fall in love with astronomy by showing the beauty of the universe“. The winners of the APY, selected from more than 3,000 applications from 67 countries, fulfill the mission perfectly.
The selection also includes the Aurora Borealis reflected in a frozen lake in Iceland photographed by the Slovakian Filip Hrebenda, the contours of a giant lunar crater finely captured by the British Martin Lewis or a steamy view of the ‘Propeller Nebula’ (or NGC 7293) ) taken by the Chinese Weitang Liang.
“Once again we had a great year of astrophotography“, delighted Ed Bloomer, astronomer at the Royal Observatory of Greenwich.”It was really satisfying to see how many participants went above and beyond to capture unusual, rarely photographed or fleeting phenomena. Some have never been seen before, some will never be seen again“.
All the winning images of the 2022 edition will be exhibited from 17 September at the National Maritime Museum in London and collected in a book to be published on 29 September.
>> Discover the images awarded by Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2022.
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