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Sunday, 17 November 2013

Out of this World: Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013

Autumn brings the new exhibition season and across the city blockbuster shows pull in the windswept crowds but one annual autumnal exhibition often gets overlooked. The Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition sits in a small room of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, you don’t need to queue or visit the gift shop just enjoy the powerful images emphasizing our position as a tiny fleck in the huge universe.

2012 Overall and Deep Space Winner: Martin Pugh with 'The Whirlpool Galaxy'
The Competition has been running a mere five years and every summer the Royal Observatory, Greenwich encourages submissions from across the world, with the only criteria: an image of the skies shot from earth. Across the few years amazing images have been produced by the amateur photographer to the more professional, and competitors can win one of four categories: Earth and Space, Our Solar System, Deep Space, Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year (For entrants under sixteen.)  

This year’s entries are pretty, powerful and highlight why this is my favourite annual photography competition - the images are mind blowing and actually freak me out with their intensity. Astronomy is bloody amazing, the images are singularly beautiful and combined fierce, looking at another galaxy, another perspective on the moon how can you not be impressed?

Although the location of the exhibition isn't the best, somehow the small room and it’s use as a thoroughfare works well. It excitably grabs those about to enter the planetarium to see more awesome astronomy and inspires those exiting with some excellent amateur shots. The exhibition space is dramatically improved by the voices and visuals of the photographers explaining their work and motivation on a projected screen.

My favourite shot is ‘Ring Of Fire Sequence’ by Jiao Hao (Singapore) his work shows the annual eclipse as sunset during which the sun remains visible and Hao explains that the ‘view can be as stunning as a total eclipse’

Highly-commended Astronomy Photograph of the Year 2013

The Young astronomy photography of the years entrants are equally as impressive the winner of the category and at only fourteen years old Jacob Marche (USA) captures the beauty, dust and gas  of The Milky Way Galaxy’

Young Astronomer of the Year:
The Milky Way Galaxy by Jacob Marchio (USA), aged 14
Of course without a degree in astrophysics I’m unable to tell you much more about the content of the pictures, but the beauty of our galaxy and many others provides a reality check for me and a space to enjoy the nature out of this world. Listen to these professionals  and see some more mind blowing images…

 If you want to feel small and insignificant then head to the Royal Observatory, visit the exhibition and you must watch at least one of the planetarium shows where you can lie back look at the stars and listen to the informative and soothing sounds of the Royal Astronomers.

Astronomy Photgrapher of the Year 2013 will be displayed in Flamsteed House, Royal Observatory Greenwich until Feburary 2013. 
And find out about Planetarium Shows here:

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