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Enter the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition

By dpreview staff on Feb 23, 2014 at 08:00 GMT
Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition
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Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition

Think you have a striking picture of vast galaxies millions of light years away, or a dramatic night sky scene taken much closer to home? The Royal Observatory Greenwich, in association with Sky at Night Magazine, has launched its 2014 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. Entries must be submitted by April 24, 2014. Winners will be announced September 17, 2014. The overall winner will receive £1500 (~$2,510). Category winners will receive £500 (~$837).  

Check out some of last year's winning images in our gallery above, then look at your portfolio and enter a photograph.

Enter the competition  

(above Image) Guiding Light to the Stars by Mark Gee (Australia): The skies of the Southern Hemisphere offer a rich variety of astronomical highlights. The central regions of the Milky Way Galaxy, 26,000 light years away, appear as a tangle of dust and stars in the central part of the image. Two even more distant objects are visible as smudges of light in the upper left of the picture. These are the Magellanic Clouds, two small satellite galaxies in orbit around the Milky Way.

Comments

Total comments: 22
ShelNf
By ShelNf (1 month ago)

Wasn't #5 part of a real time video?

0 upvotes
GKN
By GKN (1 month ago)

He shot the video on another evening, but from the same spot ..... I was lucky enough to hear him present last week at out photographic society in Wellington where he showed both the video and the still.

0 upvotes
konoplya
By konoplya (1 month ago)

how do you get the milky way to curve like that as in the #1 photo? is it because its stitched panorama?

0 upvotes
Petrogel
By Petrogel (2 months ago)

Nr 1 Photo is taken from Cape Palliser, New Zealand, looking south-southeast !!!!

Comment edited 41 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
Petrogel
By Petrogel (2 months ago)

Great Photo !!

2 upvotes
EricAotearoa
By EricAotearoa (2 months ago)

I think you mean looking south west, unless of course the moon is rising and not setting. Lived in Wellington all my life, yet have only got as far as Lake Ferry, never as far along Palliser Bay to Cape Palliser. Such clean air makes for some stunning photo's.

1 upvote
Petrogel
By Petrogel (2 months ago)

The photo is taken with a wide lens, so i can not be sure, but, yes it can be southwest, ( and the Christchurch's light pollution between the two telephone poles Under the Lighthouse)

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Wye Photography
By Wye Photography (2 months ago)

If you enter this competition would you be shooting for the stars?

3 upvotes
parkmcgraw
By parkmcgraw (2 months ago)

Astrophoto #1, a pretty when left at reduced scale.

At unity, should this image be natural and not a stitched collection or series of overlaid frames, revealing that the lens has some VERY bad zonal problems relative to distortion and aberrations, if not some of the worst I have ever seen outside of toy optics, for example the star field between the Magellanic Clouds.

Hence, would like to know how the image was collected, with what optics and post processing if any being that the star fields for many regions of the frame DO NOT LOOK NATURAL, the tracking errors being non uniform.

For a point of reference, I have been taking day and night astrophotos with standard 35mm type cameras and lens, medium format, to custom made optics since the 1970's, recording on 103F, Tri-X to Ektachrome, nitrogen baked hyposensitized film and cold cameras, to large format CCDs and APO optics, working at such places as Keck, Lick, AMOS MOTIF, images published in Astronomy Mag and elsewhere.

Park McGraw

1 upvote
Mario G
By Mario G (2 months ago)

In #5 I was surprised that the moon was not in focus when the far distance to the people should have made it focusing infinity. But then I read an article saying that it was actually focusing infinity, and the moon was blurry due to atmospheric refraction... quite an interesting way to get some extra bokeh in your shots, assuming that you can put your background in orbit.

0 upvotes
parkmcgraw
By parkmcgraw (2 months ago)

Hello Mario G

If there was that much atmospheric turbulence as a result of thermals, such that the moon would be so grossly out of focus, would also imply that the images of the individuals, and about 3' arcmins in height, the moon being about 30' arcmins in diameter, would also be somewhat effected, but they are not.

The moon presenting every little distortion in addition to uniform blur about the circumference, though spanning multiple atmospheric cells, suggesting to me that the moon is simply out of focus in the far field.

I have about 25 years experience with adaptive optics (AO), originally called (CIS) compensating imaging system by ITEK for the KH program, myself having worked on a ground based KH11.

Park McGraw

Comment edited 5 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
EricAotearoa
By EricAotearoa (2 months ago)

It's not necessary thermals but the upper atmosphere causing light to refract due to the moon appearing so low in the sky. When the moon rises here it tends to be nice rich deep yellow and quite large. Once it reaches a certain height it goes the normal white/off white and appears to shrink. A great optical illusion. I've seen a number of spectacular moon rises both over the hills and between city buildings, but was always driving a bus so couldn't stop to get photo's. Simply no words to describe how mind blowingly beautiful those moon rises were, and will continue to be.

0 upvotes
Mario G
By Mario G (2 months ago)

Hello Park

Doesn't atmospheric refraction affect only the light going through the different layers of the atmosphere, and not the light just going through the air around ground altitude?

I was referring to this article (which is actually from the author himself): http://theartofnight.com/2013/01/full-moon-silhouettes/

But I calculated the focus distance, and it could also be plausible to be an out-of-focus blur.
Using the shot setup data (APS-H sensor, 500mm F/4 lens + 2x Extender --> 1000mm F/8) and the chart at http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/hyperfocal-distance.htm, the hyperfocal distance would be 4.9km (!) - so by focusing on the people 2.1km away, the moon at infinity would indeed be out of focus.

The author states though that the focus was set to infinity - but I'm not sure how much precision could there be in distinguishing 5km from infinity on a manual focus ring? The silhouettes also seem enough in focus.

0 upvotes
Karl Summers
By Karl Summers (2 months ago)

Loved #5, it's strange seeing the moon upside down as opposed to the northern hemisphere.

0 upvotes
EricAotearoa
By EricAotearoa (2 months ago)

Ahhh, found the info for those that are interested. Photo number five was taken using a Canon 1D Mark IV and a 500mm lens with a 2x extender.

2 upvotes
KodaChrome25
By KodaChrome25 (2 months ago)

Nice. Thanks for that link.

0 upvotes
EricAotearoa
By EricAotearoa (2 months ago)

To see a three minute time lapse of this scene taken by the photographer and a photo of him with his camera and lens, plus a background feature of him, go to http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/arts/9082885/Lonely-star-photography-by-Mark-Gee. He has lived and worked in Wellington for the last ten years after emigrating from Australia.

6 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (2 months ago)

Thanx for the link to the very nice video.

I had to turn down the sound though. Very inappropriate background music IMHO. For me it did not match at all.

0 upvotes
itchhh
By itchhh (2 months ago)

Beautiful footage combined with a beautiful piano solo. 10/10!!

0 upvotes
Peter Viccari
By Peter Viccari (2 months ago)

Great video, and excellent choice of music too.

0 upvotes
Jude McDowell
By Jude McDowell (2 months ago)

Thanks for posting the link. Personally I thought his choice of music was spot on but then I guess life would be pretty dull if we all agreed on everything (it would certainly cut down comments in DPR...)

2 upvotes
EricAotearoa
By EricAotearoa (2 months ago)

Photo number five was taken in Wellington, New Zealand. Was in the Dominion Post newspaper. The people are on the Mt Victoria Lookout, and the photographer was on the other side of the city. Can't remember the lens that was used, but it was a long one. It was one of the stand out photo's of the year.

1 upvote
Total comments: 22