Astrophotos Galore: 2013 Astronomy Photographer of the Year Awards

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Sept. 19 2013 8:00 AM

Astrophotos Galore: 2013 Astronomy Photographer of the Year Awards

Every year, the Royal Observatory in Greenwich holds a contest for the best astrophotos. They have several categories, including Deep Space, Earth and Space, and Our Solar System.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

This year’s winners are, as always, stunning. And, if you’re a regular BA reader, some of the names will be familiar, too!


I’m very pleased to see that my friend Adam Block won for the Deep Space category with this gorgeous shot of the young star Sh2-239:

Sh2-239, a young star in the throes of birth.

Photo credit: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona

The star itself is hidden in thick layers of dust, but it’s blowing out huge jets of gas that form the structure you see here. Adam, of course, is featured on my blog all the time, and in fact I wrote about this very image (including what's what in it as well).

The winner of the People and Space category went to Mark Gee for his fabulous picture of people silhouetted against the rising Moon that they themselves are watching:

The Moon rises behind shadowy onlookers.

Photo by Mark Gee

Does that look familiar too? It’s part of an astonishing video Mark created that I featured here in January 2013 as well. Here’s the video—and mind you, it’s not a time-lapse; it’s in real time:

The People and Space runner-up was a shot by Ben Canales that’s one of my favorite photos of all time. I won’t spoil it; go here and see.

In fact, I won’t belabor all the amazing pictures here. Just go to the Royal Museums website and look at them all. I promise you, it’s time very, very well spent.


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