Lonely Planet Writer

The 2018 Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards

In his 1999 book Stardust, British author Neil Gaiman wonders if “we’re human because we look at the stars, or do we look at the stars because we’re human?”. The night sky has always fascinated us and drawn our gaze upwards – so it’s no surprise that it’s the subject of a photography competition organised by the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England.

The Insight Investment’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition has just recently announced the winners of their 2018 edition in all of their twelve categories. The award-winning photos can all be found in an exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, but you can see some highlights of this year’s winners in the gallery down below.

American photographer Brad Goldpaint took home the Overall Winner title with his "Transport the Soul" composition. The vast landscape of Utah hills balances out the sky view, which shows the Andromeda Galaxy, our own Milky Way and a quarter moon. Image by Brad Goldpaint/Royal Museums Greenwich
American photographer Brad Goldpaint took home the Overall Winner title with his "Transport the Soul" composition. The vast landscape of Utah hills balances out the sky view, which shows the Andromeda Galaxy, our own Milky Way and a quarter moon. Image by Brad Goldpaint/Royal Museums Greenwich
"Circumpolar", by Hungarian photographer Ferenc Szémár, was the winner of the "Skyscapes" category.The image is an extremely long exposure of half of the winter's nights, as the circumpolar star Almach, also known as Gamma Andromedae, just touched the horizon. Image by Ferenc Szémár/Royal Museums Greenwich
"Circumpolar", by Hungarian photographer Ferenc Szémár, was the winner of the "Skyscapes" category.The image is an extremely long exposure of half of the winter's nights, as the circumpolar star Almach, also known as Gamma Andromedae, just touched the horizon. Image by Ferenc Szémár/Royal Museums Greenwich
Chinese photographer Chuanjin Su was the runner up of the "Skyscapes" category with its "Eclipsed Moon Trail". He set his camera for a four-hour stack exposure during the total lunar eclipse of 31 January 2018, and managed to capture an image that reflects the changes of the Moon's colour and brightness before, during and after the event. Image by Chuanjin Su/Royal Museums Greenwich
Chinese photographer Chuanjin Su was the runner up of the "Skyscapes" category with its "Eclipsed Moon Trail". He set his camera for a four-hour stack exposure during the total lunar eclipse of 31 January 2018, and managed to capture an image that reflects the changes of the Moon's colour and brightness before, during and after the event. Image by Chuanjin Su/Royal Museums Greenwich
Danish photographer Rolf Wahl Olsen was highly commended in the "Stars and Nebulae" category for his "Thackeray's Globules in Narrowband Colour" shot. These globules were discovered in 1950 by South African astronomer A. David Thackeray, and they're patches of gas and dust were new stars are frequently born. Image by Rolf Wahl Olsen/Royal Museums Greenwich
Danish photographer Rolf Wahl Olsen was highly commended in the "Stars and Nebulae" category for his "Thackeray's Globules in Narrowband Colour" shot. These globules were discovered in 1950 by South African astronomer A. David Thackeray, and they're patches of gas and dust were new stars are frequently born. Image by Rolf Wahl Olsen/Royal Museums Greenwich
This "Great Autumn Morning" shot won its author, Italian Fabian Dalpiaz, the victory in the "Young" category. The 15-year-old took this photograph of the Dolomites and moon shining above one early morning before going to school. Image by Fabian Dalpaz/Royal Museums Greenwich
This "Great Autumn Morning" shot won its author, Italian Fabian Dalpiaz, the victory in the "Young" category. The 15-year-old took this photograph of the Dolomites and moon shining above one early morning before going to school. Image by Fabian Dalpaz/Royal Museums Greenwich
Spanish photographer Jordi Delpeix Borrell won first place in the "Our Moon" category with this shot, titled "Inverted Colours of the boundary between Mare Serenitatis and Mare Tranquilitatis". Low contrast areas like the lunar seas and ray systems, look much more interesting in inverted colours because several new details are revealed, and according to the photographer this is a new way for Moon exploration that should be considered. Image by Jordi Delpeix Borrell/Royal Museums Greenwich
Spanish photographer Jordi Delpeix Borrell won first place in the "Our Moon" category with this shot, titled "Inverted Colours of the boundary between Mare Serenitatis and Mare Tranquilitatis". Low contrast areas like the lunar seas and ray systems, look much more interesting in inverted colours because several new details are revealed, and according to the photographer this is a new way for Moon exploration that should be considered. Image by Jordi Delpeix Borrell/Royal Museums Greenwich
"Earth Shine", by Australian photographer Peter Ward, was the runner up of the "Our Moon" category. The photographer managed to reveal not just the brilliant solar corona, but the newest possible of new moons, seen here illuminated by sunlight reflecting off the Earth. Image by Peter Ward/Royal Museums Greenwich
"Earth Shine", by Australian photographer Peter Ward, was the runner up of the "Our Moon" category. The photographer managed to reveal not just the brilliant solar corona, but the newest possible of new moons, seen here illuminated by sunlight reflecting off the Earth. Image by Peter Ward/Royal Museums Greenwich
The winner of the "Galaxies" category was this shot by Australian photographer Steven Mohr, titles "NGC 3521, Mysterious Galaxy". The spiral galaxy NGC 3521 is located around 26 million light-years away in the constellation Leo and presents a complex scene, with enormous amounts of surrounding dust and stray stars glowing far out from its disk. Image by Steven Mohr/Royal Museums Greenwich
The winner of the "Galaxies" category was this shot by Australian photographer Steven Mohr, titles "NGC 3521, Mysterious Galaxy". The spiral galaxy NGC 3521 is located around 26 million light-years away in the constellation Leo and presents a complex scene, with enormous amounts of surrounding dust and stray stars glowing far out from its disk. Image by Steven Mohr/Royal Museums Greenwich
"Speeding on the Aurora lane", by French photographer Nicolas Lefaudeux, was the winning shot in the "Aurora" category. In it, we can see a hazy and subtle auroral band, leisurely drifting across the sky. Image by Nicolas Lefaudeux/Royal Museums Greenwich
"Speeding on the Aurora lane", by French photographer Nicolas Lefaudeux, was the winning shot in the "Aurora" category. In it, we can see a hazy and subtle auroral band, leisurely drifting across the sky. Image by Nicolas Lefaudeux/Royal Museums Greenwich
The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer went to Chinese photographer Tianhong Li, with this shot titled "Galaxy Curtain Call Performance". The photo represents the last opportunity in 2017 to see the silver core of the Milky Way before it sunk below the horizon. It was accompanied by the gradual curtain call of Scorpio heralding the upward trend of Orion in the sky. Image by Tianhong Li/Royal Museums Greenwich
The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer went to Chinese photographer Tianhong Li, with this shot titled "Galaxy Curtain Call Performance". The photo represents the last opportunity in 2017 to see the silver core of the Milky Way before it sunk below the horizon. It was accompanied by the gradual curtain call of Scorpio heralding the upward trend of Orion in the sky. Image by Tianhong Li/Royal Museums Greenwich
"Sun King, Little King, and God of War", by Frenchman Nicolas Lefaudeux, is the winner of the "Our Sun" category. The image shows the Sun corona during the August total solar eclipse. It is flanked on left hand side by the blue star Regulus – the little King – and by the red planet Mars (the Roman god of war) on the right. Image by Nicolas Lefaudeux/Royal Museums Greenwich
"Sun King, Little King, and God of War", by Frenchman Nicolas Lefaudeux, is the winner of the "Our Sun" category. The image shows the Sun corona during the August total solar eclipse. It is flanked on left hand side by the blue star Regulus – the little King – and by the red planet Mars (the Roman god of war) on the right. Image by Nicolas Lefaudeux/Royal Museums Greenwich