The runner-up image for the Earth and Space category of the 2013 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 2013 Earth and Space category

The runner-up for the 2013 Earth and Space category was ‘Green Energy’, by Fredrik Broms (Norway). It was taken with a Nikon D800 camera and a Nikkor 14–24mm f/2.8 lens, and shows the shifting lights of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), which can take on many shapes and forms as they are moulded by the Earth’s complex magnetic field. Here, sheets and planes of glowing gas appear to be twisted into a giant vortex above Grøtfjord in Norway.

‘With this image I wanted to show the magic and dramatic feeling of being drawn into the whirlpool of a powerful Northern Lights corona,’ Broms said. ‘The illumination of the snow is created by the strong moonlight.’

We visited Fredrik Broms on location to understand the story behind his image.

Fredrik: sharing the magic of the northern sky from Royal Observatory Greenwich on Vimeo.

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