Stunning astrophotography pieces from around the world, which have been shortlisted for the Astronomy Photographer of Year competition, are currently on show at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.
Astrophotography is revealed as a lot more than just taking pictures of stars: it throws a very different perspective on the world entirely. A picture taken by a 15 year-old girl vividly captures 2015 New Year’s fireworks against a magnificent backdrop of a star view. She is a member of the Young Photographers category, whose stories are filmed and played during the show.
In a small dimly-lighted space in the basement of Royal Observatory, the exhibition is a simple yet replete presentation of astrophotography. The photographs are displayed inside beautiful light boxes beneath a skilfully adjusted light; creating an effective contrast against the room’s dark interior that works to make a really serene atmosphere.In 2014 James Woodend beat a record-breaking 2,500 entrants with his prizewinning shot that captured the vivid green aurora as it danced across the Icelandic night sky and reflected in the glacial Jökulsarlon lagoon of Vatnajökull National Park. Young photographer, Emily Jeremy, aged just twelve, produced Moon Behind the Trees and also features in a film shown at the exhibition.
Timmy Chap-Him Wong, from Hong Kong has his work shortlisted in this year’s competition: “I particularly like the piece by Eugen Kamenew – Hybrid Solar Eclipse. This photograph needs a high accuracy of planning and creativity by the photographer. This photo stunned me when I first saw it. It makes me imagine about ancient tribes and civilisations that rely on the sun; but having no idea what it really is or the science behind it.”
The only downside is that the exhibition room is small and slightly overcrowded. Although these mind-opening images are very well framed, the lack of space makes the dense images seem disproportionate: a more spacious environment would really do the works some necessary justice.
There are also some other free astronomy exhibitions in the adjacent hall, including one on the subject of time. These are well worth seeing and, when seen altogether, provide a more in-depth understanding about astrophotography as an art.
The hopefuls for 2015 are competing for an overall prize of £2,500 and other cash prizes vary according to each category. The Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year will receive £500 and winning entries from all categories will receive a one year subscription to BBC Sky at Night magazine.
To view more entries online visit www.flickr.com/groups/astrophoto.
The astrophotography exhibition closes on February 22. Details of admission times and charges are on the Royal Observatory website.
There will be a chance to view the works of the selected finalists in an exhibition at the Astronomy Centre from September 18.
Featured photo by Jess Ho