The highly commended images for the Earth and Space category of the 2014 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 2014 Earth and Space category

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

‘Moon Balloon’, by Patrick Cullis (USA), was taken from a high-altitude balloon, 26,500m above and west of Denver, Colorado. The astonishing shot clearly shows the curvature of the Earth with the towering Rocky Mountains reduced to tiny wrinkles on the surface far below.

Also highly commended in 2014 was O Chul Kwon (South Korea) for ‘Venus – Lunar Occultation’. Using High Dynamic Range (HDR), the photographer balances the brightness of the rising Moon and much more distant planet Venus, to show us what happens when they come to the same apparent position in the sky.

‘Totality from above the Clouds’, by Catalin Beldea (Romania), was also highly commended for its capture of a total solar eclipse – one of nature’s greatest spectacles. Bad weather can completely wreck your chances of seeing an eclipse, but this is where a plane can come in handy: you can fly above the clouds and chase the Moon’s shadow as it races across the Earth.

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