The runner-up images for the Deep Space category of the 2009 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

The Deep Space category is for photos of anything beyond our Solar System, including stars, nebulae and galaxies. Long-exposure photography is the best way to see and capture colour views of our distant neighbourhood; visit How to photograph deep space objects for expert tips.

Runner-up of the Deep Space category 2009

The 2009 runner-up for Deep Space was ‘Galaxies M81 and M82’ by Edward Henry (USA). It was taken with a SBIG ST4000 colour CCD camera and SBIG ST10 XME CCD camera, plus a TMB 130-mm refractor, a 10-inch Meade telescope and a Meade RCX400 12-inch telescope, and a two-part mosaic.

This composition shows two galaxies millions of light years away, each consisting of billions of stars. The galaxy on the right is a two-armed spiral galaxy, much like our own. The pink colour is hydrogen. The galaxy on the left is also a spiral, but is seen edge on. A spray of hydrogen is coming from its centre, forced out by a huge burst of star formation. Judge Marek Kukula liked ‘the way the photographer has highlighted the pink glow of hydrogen gas to show the different natures of the two objects.’

Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition

The Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition is an annual global search for the most beautiful and spectacular visions of the cosmos by amateur and professional astrophotographers. The winning images are showcased in a stunning exhibition at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. 

Visit the IAPY 2015 exhibition