BY JAMES TWOMEY
An observatory has named the winners of its photography competition to take the best pictures of space and the sky.
The results from the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2019 competition are in and produced some stellar pictures.
Hungarian photographer László Francsics won the top prize with his picture Into the Shadow – an image of the 35 phases of the total lunar eclipse – and took home the £10,000 prize money.
The competition had 11 categories: Aurorae; Our Moon; Galaxies; Our Sun; People and Space; Planets, Comets and Asteroids; Skyscapes; Stars and Nebulae; Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year; The Sir Patrick Moore prize for Best Newcomer and Robotic Scope with winners and runners up in each category.
Now in its 11th year, the competition received a record number of more than 4,600 entries, taken from 90 countries across the globe.
The photographs are showcased alongside a selection of 68 shortlisted images, in the major special exhibition Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, which opened to the public on September 13.
Steve Marsh, BBC Sky at Night magazine’s art editor, who is also a judge for the competition, said of this year’s contest: “Each year the competition attracts the most awe-inspiring astrophotography taken from across the globe, and this year was no exception.
“The imagination, patience and skill that clearly went into so many of the entries was astounding and wonderful to see.
“There was also a real drive by imagers to capture rare celestial objects and to push their equipment further than ever before.
“That astronomy can inspire such passion and devotion is something we can all be very proud of.”
Tom Kerss, astronomer at the Royal Observatory and judge for the competition, said: “Every year the standard rises, and entrants continue to find creative new ways to express their artistry.
“This year’s selection contains so many unique approaches to astrophotography – real love letters to the art form, which stay with you long after you’ve seen them.
“I’m looking forward to the discussions these images will inspire about our shared sky, and the ever-expanding field of capturing and interpreting it.
“With such a beautiful collection to talk about, the competition really has become astrophotography’s World Cup.”