The highly commended images for the Our Solar System category of the 2014 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

The Our Solar System category is for photos of our Sun and its family of planets, moons, asteroids and comets. The Moon is a wonderful object to photograph, with constant changes of view throughout the lunar cycle; see our page on How to photograph the Moon for some expert tips. Photographing a comet, meanwhile, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can be achieved with relatively modest equipment; visit How to photograph comets to find out more.

Highly commended for the APY 2014 Our Solar System category

Three photographers were highly commended for their entries Tunç Tezel (Turkey), Alexandra Hart (UK) and Stephen Ramsden (USA). 

‘Diamond and Rubies’ shot was taken from the Tezel’s village in Turkey, Pajengo. The photographer has caught the moment when a tiny part of the Sun’s disc shines out between the mountains on the edge of the Moon, creating an effect known as the ‘diamond ring’.

Hart, who is the overall winner for this category, was also highly commended for her ‘Solar Nexus’ image. The mesmerizing swirls of superheated gas here may induce a feeling of serenity but this is far from a quiet scene for our star, the Sun. The dark strands, called filaments, more than likely have a ferocious destiny ahead.

Ramsden’s ‘Calcium K Eruption’ shot, taken in Atlanta, Georgia, is of a 1.3-million-km dual-branched solar prominence. ‘Calcium K’ refers to a very specific wavelength of violet light emitted by calcium ions in extreme environments such the Sun’s atmosphere.

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