Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012 winner announced
The 2012 winner of the astronomy photographer of the year has been announced at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.
Australian-based photographer Martin Pugh has claimed the top prize in the Royal Observatory’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition for the second time, after originally winning the title back in 2009. As well as securing the £1,500 top prize, his image will take pride of place in the exhibition of winning photographs opening at the Royal Observatory Greenwich on 20 September.
Pugh impressed the judges in this year’s competition with the depth and clarity of his winning shot, M51, depicting the famous Whirlpool Galaxy. The image combines detail in the galaxy’s spiral arms with the faint tails of light that show M51’s small companion galaxy being gradually torn apart by the gravity of its giant neighbour; a closer look also reveals more distant galaxies beyond.
Competition judge and Royal Observatory Public Astronomer, Dr Marek Kukula, said, “The photographer has made the most of exceptionally good atmospheric conditions to capture an astonishing range of detail in his image of this iconic galaxy; the beautiful spiral structure, dark lanes of dust, and the way the pink clouds of hydrogen really stand out – it’s a remarkable achievement by an amateur astronomer; one of the best images of M51 that I’ve seen.”
The competition once again received a record number of entries with a range of subjects captured by amateur and professional photographers alike from around the globe. The Sky at Night’s Sir Patrick Moore, who was a judge in the competition, said, “Many of the pictures have been taken with equipment that was out of the range of the amateur many years ago. I also like the choice of subjects: photographing people and the night skies is very difficult. The entrants have done very well indeed.”
One of the year’s biggest astronomical events, the last transit of Venus for 105 years, featured in numerous entries to the 2012 competition. The Our Solar System category was won by Chris Warren, for his image of the transit taken through a thin patch of cloud at Blackheath in London. A very different depiction of the transit claimed a Highly Commended prize in the category, this time taken from Australia by Paul Haese. His image shows the active surface of the Sun, blotched with filaments, sunspots and prominences, with the black disc of Venus passing across it.
The winner of the Earth and Space category was Japan’s Masahiro Miyasaka for his image of Orion, Taurus and the Pleiades forming a backdrop above a frozen landscape in Nagano, whilst the Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year accolade was won by 15-year-old Jacob von Chorus from Canada, who impressed the judges with his shot of the Pleiades, showing many of the stars which make up the cluster and the swirling wisps of blue-hued gas.
Astronomy Photographer of the Year is now in its fourth year and is run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich and Sky at Night Magazine. The best photographs – winners, runners-up or highly commended in the competition’s different categories and special prizes – will be showcased in a free exhibition in the Royal Observatory’s Astronomy Centre which is open to the public from today, 20 September 2012, until February 2013. For information about entering next year’s competition please click here.
Exhibition information for visitors:
Venue: Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich
Dates: 20 September 2012 - 5 February 2013
Opening times: every day, 10.00 - 17.00 (closed 25-26 December)
Visitor enquiries: 020 8312 6565
Admission: Entry to the Astronomy Centre and to the exhibition is free
Full list of 2012’s winners:
Deep Space category:
*Martin Pugh (Australia) with M51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy (Winner and Overall Winner)
*Rogelio Bernal Andreo (USA) with Simeis 147 Supernova Remnant (Runner-Up)
*Robert Franke (USA) with NGC 6960 - The Witch's Broom ((Highly Commended)
*Robert Franke (USA) with The Perseus Cluster - Abell 426 (Highly Commended)
*Oleg Bryzgalov (Ukraine) with Sharpless-136: ‘Ghost’ in Cepheus (Highly Commended)
Earth and Space category:
*Masahiro Miyasaka (Japan) with Star Icefall (Winner)
*Arild Heitmann (Norway) with Green World (Runner-up)
*Michael A. Rosinski (USA) with Summer Nights in Michigan (Highly Commended)
*Luc Perrot (Reunion Island) with The Milky Way View from the Piton de l'Eau, Reunion Island (Highly Commended)
*Tunç Tezel (Turkey) with Sky away from the Lights (Highly Commended)
Our Solar System category:
*Chris Warren (UK) with Transit of Venus 2012 in Hydrogen-Alpha (Winner)
*Damian Peach (UK) with Mars in 2012 (Runner-up)
*Graham Relf (UK) with Comet C2009 P1 Garradd (Highly Commended)
*Paul Haese (Australia) with Venus Transit (Highly Commended)
*Damian Peach (UK) with Worlds of the Solar System (Highly Commended)
Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year:
*Jacob von Chorus (Canada, aged 15) with Pleiades Cluster (Winner)
*Laurent V. Joli-Coeur (Canada, aged 15) with Daytime Lunar Mosaic (Runner-up)
*Jathin Premjith (India, aged 15) with Heavenly Showers (Highly Commended)
*Jacob Marchio (USA, aged 13) with Lunar Mountains (Highly Commended)
*Thomas Sullivan (USA, aged 13) with Origins of Life on Earth (Highly Commended)
Special Prize: People and Space:
*Laurent Laveder (France) with Facing Venus-Jupiter Close Conjunction (Winner)
*Steven Christenson (USA) with Lost in Yosemite [C 033706] (Runner-up)
Special Prize: Best Newcomer
*Lóránd Fényes (Hungary) with Elephant's Trunk with Ananas (Winner)
Robotic Scope Image of the Year:
*Thomas Read (UK, aged 12) with The Sunflower Galaxy (Winner)
In 2013 Royal Museums Greenwich is holding a special exhibition at the National Maritime Museum telling the story of astronomical imaging, from the earliest drawings done by hand to the latest cutting edge pictures from Hubble and the Mars Curiosity rover. The exhibition opens in June and runs until September next year.
The Royal Observatory, in partnership with Collins, will be publishing Astronomy Photography Of The Year on 25 October 2012. The official book of the Astronomy Photography of the Year competition will include over 200 images of space and the night sky submitted to the competition since it began in 2009, and includes all 2012 winners and shortlisted entries. It will cost £25.00 and will be on sale 25 October 2012.
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