The Entries For the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year Contest Are Absolutely Mesmerizing
For those of us who love wanderlust and can gaze at photos of the world forever, get ready to set your sights on a whole new type of travel bug. The mesmerizing shortlisted photographs from this year's Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest are truly — and literally — out of this world.
The contest, held by Insight Investment and the Royal Observatory Greenwich, received more than 4,000 entries of events like the Perseid meteor shower or a new view of Jupiter. The nine categories for the contest are as follows: skyscapes; aurorae; people and space; sun; moon; planets, comets, and asteroids; stars and nebulae; galaxies; young astronomy photographer of the year; and an overall winner. These winning entries will be announced on Sept. 15 and will be showcased at the observatory's astronomy center. If you can't make it, no worries; the winners and shortlisted photos will be published in a book, out on Nov. 3.
Ahead, you'll see some of the best photographs for the contest so far with original captions from the Royal Observatory. Once you're done perusing these photographs, spend some time with more incredible space photos from this year's AstroFest winners.
Above the World
Taken from Sefton Bivouac, the oldest hut in Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand, star trails spiral over the majestic mountains of the park and the seemingly peaceful village below.
Antarctic Space Station
A view of the Halley 6 Research Station situated on the Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica, which is believed to be the closest thing you can get to living in space without leaving Earth, making it perfect to be used for research by the European Space Agency. As the Sun's light dissipates into the horizon, the aurora can be seen swirling overhead.
With very little light pollution, the glimmering stars of the Milky Way bathe the colourful layers of the Painted Hills of Oregon in a natural glow.
A Fork, a Spoon, and a Moon
A Royal Spoonbill sits atop of a branch basking in the glow of the nearly Full Moon in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.
The natural light of the Milky Way battles with the light pollution over the fishing village, or kelong, in Batu Pahat, Malaysia. In the lower right hand corner, there is also bioluminescence in the waters at the bottom of the kelong.
The vivid green Northern Lights resemble a bird soaring over open water in Olderdalen, Norway.
Between the Rocks
Our galaxy, the Milky Way, stretches across the night sky between two of the imposing rocks at Pfeiffer State Beach, near Big Sur, California.
King of the Planets
Looming in the night sky, tempestuous storms are visible across the face of the largest planet in our Solar System, Jupiter. The Great Red Spot — a raging storm akin to a hurricane on Earth — stands out in a deep orange from the hues of browns surrounding it.
A mesmerizing lunar halo forms around our natural satellite, the Moon, in the night sky above Norway. The halo, also known as a moon ring or winter halo, is an optical phenomenon created when moonlight is refracted in numerous ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere.
The Perseid Meteor Shower shoots across the sky in the early hours of Aug. 13, 2015, appearing to cascade from Mount Shasta in California, USA. The composite image features roughly 65 meteors captured by the photographer between 12:30am and 4:30am.
The brilliance of the Moon illuminates the night sky, and is reflected in the expansive water of the Paraty Bay, Brazil.
M8: Lagoon Nebula
New stars are formed in the undulating clouds of M8, also commonly referred to as the Lagoon Nebula, situated some 5,000 light years from our planet.
The celestial curve of the Milky Way joins with the light of a stargazer's headlamp to form a monumental arch over the Cimon della Pella in the heart of the Dolomites mountain range in northeastern Italy.
The shadow of Manua Kea, the highest peak in the state of Hawaii, is projected by the rising sun over the volcano, Hualalai, whilst the Full Moon soars above them, higher again.
The luminous tangle of filaments of Pickering's Triangle intertwines through the night sky. Located in the Veil Nebula, it is one of the main visual elements of a supernova remnant, whose source exploded around 8,000 years ago.
The Diamond Ring
The dramatic moment that our star, the Sun, appears to be cloaked in darkness by the Moon during the Total Solar Eclipse of March 9, in Indonesia. The Sun peers out from behind the Moon and resembles the shape of a diamond ring, caused by the rugged edge of the Moon allowing some beads of sunlight to shine through in certain places.
Northern Lights over Jokulsarlon, Iceland
A couple takes in the awe-inspiring sight of the Northern Lights streaking across the night sky over the lagoon at Jokulsarlon, Iceland on Valentine's night of 2016.
The Southern Cross constellation of the Milky Way, visible in the southern sky creates a guiding light along Bucklands Lane in Central Goldfields Shire, Victoria.
During the seldom-seen alignment of the five planets in Feb., Venus, Mercury and the Milky Way rose an hour before sunrise, and appear to be fleeing its early glow, overlooking Turrimeta Beach, Australia.
Seven Magic Points
The rusty red swirls of the circular, iron sculpture Seven Magic Points in Brattebergan, Norway mirror the rippling aurora above.
Wall of Plasma
A searing solar prominence extends outwards from the surface of the Sun. The "wall of plasma" is the height of three times the Earth's diameter.
Just Missed the Bullseye
The International Space Station (ISS) appears to pierce a path across the radiant, concentric star trails seemingly spinning over the silhouettes of the trees in Harrogate, South Australia.
With temperatures close to -15 degrees, it's not surprising that the photographer was the only soul in the vicinity of Plateau Hut in Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand. The lonely hut, dwarfed by the snowy mountains of the park, contrasts with the abundance of star trails seemingly encircling the peaks of the Anzac.