The winning image 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.

Winner of the APY 2014 Earth and Space category

The 2014 overall winner for the Earth and Space category was James Woodend (UK) for ‘Aurora over a Glacier Lagoon’, taken using a Canon 5D Mk III camera with a 33mm f/3.2 lens.

The pale-green glow of the aurora comes from oxygen atoms high in the atmosphere, energised by subatomic particles blasted out by the Sun. The particles are funnelled down towards the north and south poles by the Earth’s magnetic field, which is why these spectacular light shows are so often juxtaposed with the frozen scenery of the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

‘This beautiful image captures what it’s really like to see a good aurora,’ said our judge Chris Lintott. ‘The blue ice is exquisite and the overall composition is mesmerizing,’ added Pete Lawrence.

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