These Jaw-Dropping Space Images Just Won a Major Award
The Royal Observatory Greenwich has announced its Astronomy Photographer of the Year winners.
If you look at the sky (and more specifically, at the night sky) with a naked eye, chances are you'll already think it's beautiful. Now, imagine looking at it through a telescope—pretty damn gorgeous, you'll agree. But let's elevate the experience even more, shall we?
The Royal Observatory Greenwich just announced the winners of its prestigious Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards, and yes, you guessed it—we have some stunning winning photos to share with you. The overall winners of this year are Marcel Drechsler, Xavier Strottner, and Yann Sainty for their photograph titled Andromeda, Unexpected, which not only is, according to the judges, beautiful, but it also captures an important discovery.
The photo, which is a snap of the Andromeda Galaxy (the closest spiral galaxy to our very own Milky Way), shines light on a pretty big plasma arc sitting right next to it. According to scientists, finding such a large structure that close to a galaxy is very surprising, and this has led to a transnational scientific collaboration to further investigate the phenomenon.
"This astrophoto is as spectacular as [it is] valuable," László Francsics, judge and astrophotographer, said in a statement shared with Thrillist. "It not only presents Andromeda in a new way, but also raises the quality of astrophotography to a higher level."
Very worthy of mention are also the winners of the Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year award. Runwei Xu and Binyu Wang (who are just 14 years old, by the way!) brought home the title thanks to their photo named The Running Chicken Nebula, which was described as a "strikingly beautiful picture" by judge Yuri Beletsky.
In addition to the overall winners and the Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year winners, the competition—which saw over 4,000 entries from 64 countries—selected winners for almost a dozen different categories. Those categories included Galaxies, Aurorae, Our Moon, Our Sun, People and Space, Planets, Comets and Asteroids, Skyscapes, Stars and Nebulae, and also The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer and The Annie Maunder Prize for Image Innovation. All winning photos will be on display in an accompanying exhibition at the National Maritime Museum (located in London) starting on Saturday.
Check out some of the winning photos below: