Astronomy Photographer of the Year

The One Show & Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Martin Pugh’s winning image of the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51). Credit: Martin Pugh

If you’ve been following my Twitter feed you’ll probably know that on Wednesday night the Royal Observatory Greenwich, in association with Sky at Night Magazine, announced the winners of the 2012 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

This year’s overall winner was Martin Pugh, from Australia, who won the top prize with a truly spectacular image (above) of M51. I was on the judging panel again this year and, in my opinion, it was the hardest year to judge in the history of the competition. The standard of entries across all the categories was, as ever, superb, but this year I was particularly impressed with the quality of the images submitted in the Best Newcomer and Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year groups – something that really bodes well for the future of the competition.

To tie in with the competition, myself, the ROG’s Marek Kukula, and Andrew Steele – whose striking moonrise image was highly commended in last year’s competition – also appeared in a segment about astrophotography on The One Show last night; my role was to help presenter Jamie Crawford take his first ever astro images. You can currently watch the whole piece on the BBC’s iPlayer here.

Jamie and I looking at some basic astrophotography kit. Credit: BBC Television

All the winning images from this year’s competition are on the ROG website and, if you get a chance, be sure to also visit the stunning free exhibition in Greenwich.

Photography Monthly interview on astrophotography

I had a lot of fun talking about astrophotography to Fiona Keating from Photography Monthly magazine a few weeks ago. The 4-page interview appears in the June issue of the magazine, which has just hit newsstands. In the interview I talk about some of the methods and equipment that can be used to take pictures of the night sky and the technical challenges astro imaging creates.

So if you’re thinking of getting into astrophotography, why not pick up a copy of the magazine and start snapping. And if you capture a great image, remember there’s a ‘best newcomer’ prize in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2011 results night

Video courtesy of Sky at Night Magazine. Remember to select the 720p HD option.

Two weeks ago I, and the rest of the Sky at Night Magazine team, travelled to Greenwich for the 2011 Astronomy Photography of the Year awards night. You’ll no doubt have seen many of the winning images splashed across the pages of newspapers, websites and blogs over recent weeks.

This was arguably the most difficult year to judge so far, with an astounding array of superb images submitted from all over the world. Above is the video we made on the awards night, which includes an interview with the overall winner Damian Peach whose stunning image of Jupiter, Io and Ganymede you’ll see below. I’ve also embedded below an excellent video profile of Damian, which was made by Lonelyleap Film for the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

The overall winning image — Jupiter with two of its moons, Io & Ganymede. Credit: Damian Peach

Video courtesy of Royal Observatory, Greenwich/Lonelyleap.

Calling all astrophotographers!

Today the Royal Observatory Greenwich, in association with Sky at Night Magazine, launched the 2011 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. This year, as well as the main judging categories, there’s a new special prize for the Robotic Scope Image of the Year. It’s aimed at astroimagers who use remote scopes, over the Internet, to capture their data before processing it.

I’m on the judging panel once again this year and, as before, I’m really looking forward to seeing what the world’s top astrophotographers have got in store for us. So, whether you use a remote observatory or your own kit, photograph meteors or the Moon, if you’ve taken an amazing astronomical shot recently make sure you enter it into the competition!

Logo credit: National Maritime Museum/The Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards video

My video report, for Sky at Night Magazine, from the 2010 Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards is now online and I’ve embedded it below.

If you’re in London over the next few months, it’s really worth popping into the Royal Observatory, Greenwich to see the pictures. The exhibition is free and open until February 2011.

Be sure to click the 720p HD button for the best quality playback.

Video credit: Sky at Night Magazine

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2010 – the results!

Tom Lowe’s stunning winning image ‘Blazing Bristlecone’. Credit: Tom Lowe

Last night the results of the 2010 Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards were announced at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. You’ll have probably seen some of the amazing images in today’s press, including this great audio slideshow from BBC News and an impressive centre spread, of the overall winning image, in the Guardian.

All the prize winning images are now on show, until February 2011, in a stunning (and free!) exhibition at the observatory. They’re wonderfully displayed in a dimly lit room, on backlit plastic, which really brings out their rich colours and incredible details.

Also on show in the exhibition space are four superb mini-documentaries. They tell the story of some of the images in the exhibition and the photographers who took them. In the process they reveal the, often unseen, human element behind astroimaging. The videos are all on Vimeo and I’ve embedded two of them below.

If you’re suitably enthused by this year’s winning images, and would like to have a go at astroimaging, there are some great guides on the ROG website to get you started. Who knows, by this time next year, it might well be your images we’re admiring on the walls in the 2011 exhibition.

Video credits: Buzz Films & the Royal Observatory, Greenwich

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2010

After the huge success of Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2009 the Royal Observatory Greenwich (and Sky at Night Magazine, as media partner) have today opened entries to this year’s competition. Last year the competition received hundreds of images showing everything from spectacular swirling nebulae to moonscapes reminiscent of the views seen by Apollo astronauts.

This year’s competition takes on much the same form as last year’s but with a few interesting extras. Just like last year there are three main categories. They are: ‘Earth and Space’ (for ‘earthly’ landscapes with an astronomical object in them), ‘Our Solar System’ (for images of our Sun, the planets, the Moon, comets etc.) and finally ‘Deep Space’ (for pictures of stars, nebulae and galaxies). There will also be two special prizes. The first is ‘People and Space’ which, according to the ROG website, is for “photos that include people in a creative and original way” and the second is the ‘Best Newcomer’ prize. This is a new prize for those of you who have just started taking pictures of the night sky in the last year and haven’t entered the competition before. Here’s where we’ll no doubt see the rising stars (if you’ll excuse the pun) of astroimaging.

Last, but by no means least, there will also be the Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year category, for entrants under-16 years old. There were some fantastic images from last year’s young astroimagers, with some really clever shots entered. So if you know a budding young astroimager, why not tell them about the competition?

The overall winner of the competition will receive £1000 and there are other prizes for the various category winners, runners up etc. For the full rules of the competition and more about how to enter see the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s website.

I’ll be on the judging panel again for this year’s competition and, like last year, I’m really looking forward to seeing what the world’s top astroimagers can produce. We had a superb mix of subjects last year and I know that all of the judges were incredibly impressed at the quality in all the categories. For now though it’s over to you…impress us! You’ve got until the 16th July to submit your images, so good luck and clear skies!

APOTY logo courtesy & copyright NMM/Royal Observatory Greenwich

Astronomy Photographer of the Year – The Results

A few weeks ago the results of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition were announced, at the opening of the exhibition of the winning images. As the media partner for the competition a few of us from the Sky At Night Magazine team, travelled to the Royal Observatory Greenwich for the opening night and whilst there we recorded an episode of the Sky At Night Magazine vodcast. I’ll let the vodcast explain the rest but if you want to see more of the amazing images from this stunning exhibition you can see them on the ROG’s website here or, if you’re in the area, at the observatory itself.

Are you 2009’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year?

apotyimage1The night sky provides a wealth of astro-imaging targets. Image credit:

Each month the astro-magazines, Internet forums and websites fill with countless stunning amateur images of nebulae, galaxies, the Moon and more. Often they’ve been taken with a huge range of equipment; from a point and shoot camera held over the telescope eyepiece to many thousands of pounds worth of equipment and CCD cameras. It’s no secret that today accomplished ‘amateur’ astronomers, with quite modest equipment, are producing images whose quality is on a par with (and in some cases far excels) those from professional telescopes, taken a few decades ago. You just have to look at the monthly reader Hotshots pages of Sky At Night Magazine to see what amateur astro-imagers are capable of nowadays!


To celebrate the burgeoning nature of this exciting aspect of astronomy the Royal Observatory Greenwich, in association with BBC Sky At Night Magazine, have just launched the 2009 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. It’s open to everyone around the globe so, if you’ve taken an amazing astro-image that you want to show off to the world, now’s your chance to enter. There are several categories, to cover the many different celestial subjects, including; “Earth and Space” which is for landscapes with an astronomy interest, “Deep Sky” for galaxies and nebulae and “Our Solar System” for pictures of the Sun’s celestial family. The overall winner will receive £1000, with runners up etc. receiving other prizes. Getting youngsters interested in the night sky is also vitally important for astronomy, as both a hobby and a science, so there’s also the Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition for entrants under 16 years of age.

When the results have been decided there’s going to be a free exhibition of the winning images at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich from 10th September 2009 to 10th January 2010. You can find out more and read all the rules on the National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory’s website here. I’m on the judging panel and I genuinely can’t wait for the images to start coming in, so I can see the fruits of your labours. So good luck to those of you who enter and let’s hope 2009 brings us all some nice clear skies to savour!

APOTY logo courtesy & copyright NMM/Royal Observatory Greenwich