The highly commended images for the Our Solar System category of the 2010 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

The Our Solar System category is for photos of our Sun and its family of planets, moons, asteroids and comets. The Moon is a wonderful object to photograph, with constant changes of view throughout the lunar cycle; see our page on How to photograph the Moon for some expert tips. Photographing a comet, meanwhile, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can be achieved with relatively modest equipment; visit How to photograph comets to find out more.

Highly commended for the APY 2010 Our Solar System category

Three photographers were highly commended for their entries:

‘The Green Visitor’ by Richard Higby (Australia) is of Comet Lulin. ‘I had read that Comet Lulin was approaching our Solar System,’ Richard said. ‘This speeding dirty snowball would not revisit us during our lifetime! This was all that was needed to rush home on a number of occasions praying for a break in the clouds and weather to capture the green visitor from our backyard in Sydney.’

‘The Crescent Venus’ by Lorenzo Comolli (Italy) shows our neighbouring planet, Venus, as it moves around the Sun. Venus appears to go through a series of phases from crescent to full, just like the Moon. These phases can only be seen through a telescope or binoculars. They were first observed by the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei exactly 400 years ago.

‘Sinus Iridum’ by Nick Smith (UK) shows Sinus Iridum, or the ‘Bay of Rainbows’, which lies on the edge of the Moon’s ‘Sea of Rains’ (Mare Imbrium). The smooth floor of the bay is filled with dark lava, which solidified billions of years ago and is surrounded by rugged mountains. 

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