The runner-up image 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.

Runner-up of the APY 2012 Earth and Space category

The 2012 runner-up for Earth and Space was Arild Heitmann (Norway). His ‘Green World’ aurora borealis shot was also taken with a Canon 5D, using a 16-35mm f/2.8 lens. The eerie green light of the aurora comes from the oxygen atoms high in the atmosphere, which have been energised by subatomic particles from the solar wind.

‘This is a special shot for me, since it captures the intense feeling of standing deep in the mountains, far away from light pollution, watching the finest lightshow on the planet,’ Heitmann said.

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