The winning image for the Deep Space category of the 2011 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.

Winner of the Deep Space category 2011

The 2011 winner for the Deep Space category was Marco Lorenzi (Italy), whose ‘Vela Supernova’ photograph was taken with a FLI Proline 16803 CCD camera and a Pentax 67 DEIF 300mm telescope.

The image is composed of an intricate structure, the aftermath of a supernova explosion – the violent death of a star many times more massive than the Sun. It took place over 10,000 years ago. The expanding shell of debris and gas now covers an area that’s 20 times wider than the disc of the full Moon.

Sir Patrick Moore said of the image: ‘This is a lovely picture of the Vela Supernova Remnant, so far as I know not quite the same as anything else in the sky. This splendid picture shows the details clearly.’

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