Sunday, 29 January 2012

Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Verdict: Go see it
Where: Royal Observatory, Greenwich
When: 9 September 201112 February 2012

This year’s competition had around 800 entries that were whittled down to 24 prize-winners, in various categories.

If you think this is purely the domain of the astronomy geek, you’d be wrong.  Sure there are photos that have been awarded prizes for technical merit but nearly half of the photographs on display were taken with standard cameras without the use of telescopes.

The overall winner was chosen for technical merit in capturing Jupiter and two of its moons but some of the more aesthetically pleasing pictures could have been taken by any amateur photographer – such as the Milky Way that can be seen over the tops of palm trees in Tahiti.

You’re guaranteed to walk away from this exhibit with at least a couple of the photographs leaving you in awe of the technical capability of the photographer or the beautiful scenery.  In some cases both, such as the remnants of a supernova explosion that looks like something straight out of Star Trek – though probably beyond Star Trek’s budget to create.

The ultimate photograph for me was the capturing of the International Space Station, docked with the space shuttle Endeavour, as it transited across the sun.

And if none of these appeals to you, and how could it not, then the views of Canary Wharf and the City of London, from outside the Observatory, will more than make up for it.  

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