The winning image for the Stars and Nebulae category of the 2016 Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

The Stars and Nebulae category is for photos featuring deep-space objects within the Milky Way galaxy, including stars, star clusters, supernova remnants, nebulae and other galactic phenomena.

Winner of the IAPY 2016 Stars and Nebulae category

The 2016 winner for the Stars and Nebulae category is 'The Rainbow Star' by Steve Brown (UK), taken at Stokesley, North Yorkshire, UK on 11 January 2016, using a Canon EOS 600D camera with Star Adventurer tracking mount, with 250 mm lens, at ISO 3200 with stacked 70 of 1500 frames.

What the photographer says

‘Whenever I see Sirius in the night sky I always take a moment to enjoy the rapid cycle of colours it displays, especially when close to the horizon. Sirius is called the ‘Rainbow Star’, as its twinkling seems to go through every colour of the rainbow. Ever since I took up astrophotography I have searched for the best way to show these colours in a photograph. After some experimentation, I finally hit upon the idea of videoing the star deliberately out of focus. To create the final picture, I picked out the video frames that contained the most striking colours and put them together in this composite image.’ Steve Brown

What the judges say

‘Such a simple and yet powerful idea with an execution that could well pass as pop art.’ Oana Sandu

Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition

The Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, sponsored by Insight Investment, 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 exhibition