Lonely Planet Writer

See the winners of the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest

The winning images in the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition have been announced – featuring starry skies, glowing moons and the bright lights of Aurorae – and will soon go on display to the public.

The 2016 winner for the Our Sun category as well as overall competition winner is 'Baily’s Beads' by Yu Jun (China), taken in Luwuk, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.
The 2016 winner for the Our Sun category as well as overall competition winner is ‘Baily’s Beads’ by Yu Jun (China), taken in Luwuk, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Image by Baily’s Beads © Yu Jun

The annual competition by the Royal Observatory in the UK showcases images by astro-photographers from around the world. This year’s top prize went to Yu Jun of China, who captured “Baily’s Beads” in Indonesia, explaining that the photos are actually a series that were taken during the 2016 solar eclipse and stacked.

The 2016 winner for the People and Space category is 'City Lights' by Wing Ka Ho (Hong Kong) , taken at Quarry Bay, Hong Kong.
The 2016 winner for the People and Space category is ‘City Lights’ by Wing Ka Ho (Hong Kong) , taken at Quarry Bay, Hong Kong. Image by © Wing Ka Ho

Baily’s Beads are named for the English astronomer Francis Baily and are seen during an eclipse as, “from Earth it seems like the sunlight around the edge of the moon is broken into fragments because of the uneven lunar surface. This creates the illusion of a string of bright beads encircling the moon”, explained Yu Jun.

The 2016 winner for the Skyscapes category is 'Binary Haze' by Ainsley Bennett (UK), taken at Ashey, Isle of Wight, UK.
The 2016 winner for the Skyscapes category is ‘Binary Haze’ by Ainsley Bennett (UK), taken at Ashey, Isle of Wight, UK. Image by © Ainsley Bennett

Each year, photographers are invited to submit their best images to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. This year, there were more than 4500 entries from 80 countries, capturing the moon, stars, planets and much more.

The 2016 winner for the Aurorae category is 'Twilight Aurora' by György Soponyai (Hungary), taken near Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway.
The 2016 winner for the Aurorae category is ‘Twilight Aurora’ by György Soponyai (Hungary), taken near Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway. Image by © György Soponyai

There are more than eight different themed categories, as well as a competition for entrants under 16 years old.

The 2016 highly commended entry for the People and Space category is 'A Wise Son Makes a Glad Father' by Robin Stuart (Kenya), taken at Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.
The 2016 highly commended entry for the People and Space category is ‘A Wise Son Makes a Glad Father’ by Robin Stuart (Kenya), taken at Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Image by © Robin Stuart

About 140 shortlisted images from the competition will go on display on 17 September at the observatory, showing off the 31 prize-winners as well as an interactive exhibit.

The 2016 runner-up in the People and Space category is 'Man on the Moon' by Dani Caxete (Spain) at Cadalso de los Vidrios, Madrid, Spain.
The 2016 runner-up in the People and Space category is ‘Man on the Moon’ by Dani Caxete (Spain) at Cadalso de los Vidrios, Madrid, Spain. Image by © Dani Caxete

The Royal Observatory is located by Greenwich Park and is known for the stunning views it provides of London.