The runner-up image for the Earth and Space category of the 2010 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 to try your hand at capturing these awe-inspiring light shows.

Runner-up of the APY 2010 Earth and Space category

The runner-up for the 2010 Earth and Space category was ‘Whisper of the Wind’ by Dave Brosha (Canada), captured using a Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR camera with a Sigma 15mm fisheye lens on a static tripod.

It shows the aurorae, or Northern and Southern Lights, which are caused by the interaction between the Earth’s atmosphere and a stream of particles from the Sun known as the solar wind. The Earth’s magnetic field funnels these particles down over the planet’s poles giving rise to glowing curtains of coloured light.

‘I photographed this on a bitterly cold night along the shores of Vee Lake,’ the photographer said. I wanted a composition that tied the land below into the grander display above, and when I saw the shape of this aurora on my viewfinder, which looked so gentle, I knew I had something special.’

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