An otherworldly photograph of a solar eclipse won first prize in this year’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.
The coveted prize is awarded by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in England. Winning photographer Shuchang Dong from China captured the photo during an annular solar eclipse in the Ali region of Tibet on June 21, 2020. Entitled “The Golden Ring,” the photograph looks like this – a circle of light against a gloomy dark sky.
“You feel like you can reach for the sky and place it on your finger,” Judge Steve Marsh said in a press release.
Related: View photos of all astrophotography winners
Following: Astrophotography for Beginners: How to Photograph the Night Sky
This is the 13th year of the astronomical photography competition. The winners receive a cash prize and their photographs are on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Dong’s “The Golden Ring” also won first place in the “Our Sun” category of the competition. Other well-known photos in the category show details of the sun’s surface and outside atmosphere.
The winners of the competition come from all over the world. Frenchman Nicolas Lefaudeux won first prize in the “Notre Lune” category, which captured an image of a crescent of Venus rising above the moon of the earth. Third Officer Dmitrii Rybalka won first place in the “Aurora” category for a beautiful green photo of the Northern Lights he took from the deck of a ship near the Kara Strait in Russia. Deepal Ratnayaka from the UK won the ‘People and Space’ category for a dreamy photo of a child against star trails during a COVID-19 lockdown.
The winners took advantage of their astronomical views from very different points of view. For “The Milky Ring”, a 360 degree view of the Milky Way who won the “Galaxies” category, Chinese photographer Zhong Wu stitched together images taken in Sichuan and Qinghai, China, and Lake Pukaki, New Zealand. The winner of “Skyscapes” shows the moonrise over Death Valley National Park, an image that forced American photographer Jeffrey Lovelace to walk on the sand dunes after sunset.
Some shots required photographers to be in exactly the right place at the right time: the winner of “Planets, Comets and Asteroids” was taken by American photographer Frank Kuszaj, who was trying to photograph distant galaxies when a meteor fireball quadrantide blew past its goal. . Others took days and days of image capture to create the final photo. The winner of the “Stars and Nebulae” category, American Terry Hancock, spent seven days photographing the California nebula to create his winning image in vivid colors.
The “Youth” award was won by the 15-year-old Chinese photographer 至 璞 王, who photographed the planets of the solar system over the course of a year and sewn them into a ‘family photo’. Two other special awards were also presented: the Manju Mehrotra Family Trust Award for Best Newcomer, which went to novice astrophotographer Paul Eckhardt of the United States for his photograph of the Falcon 9 rocket exploding by the moon, and the award Annie Maunder for the image Innovation, which is given for the best imagery produced with publicly available data. This prize was shared between two laureates: Leonardo Di Maggio from the United Kingdom, for his mosaic of images of Saturn from the Cassini mission; and Sergio Díaz Ruiz from Spain, for a colorful view of Jupiter’s clouds made from images from the Hubble Telescope.
This year’s awards ceremony was virtual and took place on September 16. A video of the ceremony is available online.
Originally posted on Live Science