The highly commended images for the Earth and Space category of the 2012 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.

Highly commended for the APY 2012 Earth and Space category

Three photos were highly commended by the judges for the Earth and Space category:

Luc Perrot’s (Réunion Island) ‘The Milky Way View from the Piton de l’Eau, Réunion Island’ offers a spectacular view of the Milky Way arching over a tranquil lake and the Piton des Neiges mountain.

The long-exposure image ‘Summer Nights in Michigan’, by Michael A. Rosinski (USA), was equally awe-inspiring in its depiction of the contrast between Earthly and heavenly sources of light. ‘I’ve been taking combined fireflies and star trail images since 2010,’ Rosinski commented.

‘Sky away from the Lights’, meanwhile, by Turkish photographer Tunç Tezel, was taken from Uludag National Park, and shows the distant lights of centuries-old towns and villages, with the Milky Way above.

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