Space, so far as we can observe it, is a wonderful and immense engine; its extent, its order, its beauty, makes it impressive. There is no weather, and yet, there is regularity.
The Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition captures the essence of space perfectly. It is an annual celebration of the most beautiful and spectacular visions of the cosmos by astrophotographers worldwide. Here are few shots of the spectacular images vying for top spot in the prestigious Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 contest.
1. Star Trails over Green Lake, by Dan Barr, USA
“Star trails illuminate the night sky over a campfire lit Green Lake in the Hoover Wilderness of California” – Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015
2. The Mirrored Night Sky, by Xiaohua Zhao, China
“An enthralled stargazer is immersed in the stars as the luminous purple sky is mirrored in the thin sheet of water across the world’s largest salt flat, Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia” – Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015
3. Moon and Antelao, by Marcella Giulia, Italy
“Late afternoon at San Vito di Cadore, Italy, as the moon shines over Monte Antelao.” – Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015
4. Full Moon over the Alps, by Stefano de Rosa, Italy
“The majestic sight of the full moon setting behind the rose-tinted Alps, in the silent surroundings of Superga hill in Turin, Italy” – Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015
5. Herschel 36: The Heart of the Lagoon, by László Francsics, Hungary
“Situated some 5,000 light years away, the stellar nursery of the Lagoon Nebula lies in the constellation of Sagittarius. Despite being light years away, the Lagoon Nebula is in fact, one of the few star-forming nebulae that it is possible to see with the naked eye in optimum conditions from mid-northern latitudes.” – Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015
6. Ascent of Angels, by Brad Goldpaint, USA
"A meteor can be seen piercing through the darkness as the Milky Way towers above the 4,392m peak of Mount Rainier in Washington, USA. The white lights dotted across the rocky paths of the mountain’s face are the headlamps of hikers ascending to the peak.” – Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015
7. Motind, by Rune Engebo, Norway.
"Living in Norway, the photographer had seen his fair share of aurorae, but on 21 January 2015 he witnessed the strongest variety of colours he had ever set eyes on in this beautiful explosion of purples and greens" - Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015
8. C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy, by Michael Jaeger, Austria
“A phenomenal natural light show of a lightning storm emanating from the underside of ominous storm clouds juxtaposed with the gleaming stars of the Milky Way above them. The photographer had watched the storm front over Kati-Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park in South Australia for around two hours before capturing this tumultuous scene.” – Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015
9. The Night The Sky Exploded, by Kris Williams, UK
“A rare sighting of a red aurora, caused by the emission of high-altitude oxygen, captured on film, dancing over the small fishing town of Eyrarbakki, on the south coast of Iceland. This display that lasted for hours was one of the most colourful that the photographer had ever seen.” – Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015.