The winning image for the Earth and Space category of the 2009 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

The Earth and Space category is for photos that include landscape, people or other ‘Earthly' things, together with an astronomical subject. Aurora, such as the aurora borealis (northern lights) are popular phenomenon within this category; see How to photograph aurorae if you’d like to try your hand at capturing these awe-inspiring light shows.

Winner of the APY 2009 Earth and Space category

The 2009 overall winner for Earth and Space was Ted Dobosz (Australia) whose ‘Star Trails, Blue Mountains’ photograph was taken with a Canon 40D DSLR camera and a Tamron 17-mm lens.

As the Earth spins during the 30-minute exposure of this photograph the stars make trails around the sky’s South Pole. The orange glow at the bottom is caused by ‘light pollution’ from streetlights and other artificial illumination. A similar picture taken in the northern hemisphere would show Polaris (the Pole Star) apparently unmoving at the centre of the star trails.

Judge Chris Lintott thought that it is ‘the ghostly images of the Milky Way’s two companion galaxies that make this image something very special. The trees give a sense of being rooted on Earth as the heavens turn above you.’

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