Winners: Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Winner

The Milky Way Galaxy by Jacob Marchio (USA)

The Milky Way Galaxy by Jacob Marchio (USA), aged 14

15 July 2012

What the photographer says:

‘I chose this photo because of the detail in the galaxy and dust lanes.’

Nikon D3100 camera; 18mm f/3.5 lens; ISO 3200; 288-second exposure

What it shows:

Here, the cumulative glow of tens of billions of stars paint a familiar streak of light across the sky. The photographer has focused on one of the most spectacular vistas looking towards the very centre of the Milky Way. Dark lanes of interstellar dust and gas are seen in silhouette against the brilliance of the galaxy’s dense bulge. Countless clusters and star nurseries are also sprinkled across the scene.

What the judges say:

Pete Lawrence says: ‘This is a spectacular image. From a dark sky site, the Milky Way can look bright and stunning but photographically it requires great care and attention. Here the imager has produced a fantastic, sharp result showing the intricate and subtle dust lanes that cross the core of our galaxy.’

Runner-up

Goodbye Sun, Hello Moon by Ariana Bernal (USA)

Goodbye Sun, Hello Moon by Ariana Bernal (USA), aged 10

25 May 2013

What the photographer says:

‘I enjoy pictures of the Sun setting and pictures of the Moon rising, so I wanted to take a picture with both in the same photo. I took several pictures and put them all together, and I really liked how it came out. I enjoyed making this photo – it is my first time putting together an astronomy picture. My dad does these kinds of pictures, so he told me how I should do it, but I did it all by myself.’

Canon 5D Mark II camera; Sigma 20mm f/5.6 lens; ISO 400; 1/125-second exposure

What it shows:

This image shows what are – as far as we are concerned – the three most significant objects in the Universe: the Sun, Moon and Earth. The Sun and Moon are seen here poised above the Earth’s horizon, their light reddened by our atmosphere. Land, sea and sky all meet around a familiar and beautiful human structure – San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

Highly commended

The Windows District by Eric Dewar (Canada)

The Windows District by Eric Dewar (Canada), aged 15

19 March 2013

What the photographer says:

‘This photograph was taken at midnight in Arches National Park in Utah, USA. It is a very beautiful park to go and see. It looks even better photographed at night with the stars and the arches in the same photograph.’

Nikon D7000 camera; 10mm f/3.5 lens; ISO 800; 46.5-second exposure

What it shows:

By keeping the camera shutter open, this young photographer gathers precious light, making the desert scenery seem as bright as day. But the stars in the blue sky give the game away, showing that this dramatic photograph was actually taken in the middle of the night.

Highly commended

The Great Nebula by Samuel Copley (UK)

The Great Nebula by Samuel Copley (UK), aged 15

4 December 2012

What the photographer says:

‘I was outside in the garden with my telescope looking at the Orion Nebula and thinking how wonderful it looks, so I started to take photos of it. I was amazed how much nebulosity my camera was detecting. When my telescope power tank ran out I went indoors and stacked them on Deep Sky Stacker and started to change the light curve. The results as you can see are amazing. By then it was midnight and I had school in the morning; a long night but well worth all the effort.’

Skywatcher 200P EQ5 Pro SynScan telescope; Skywatcher EQ5 Pro equatorial mount; 200mm mirror lens; Lumix G10 camera; ISO 800; 4 x 30-second exposures and 2 x 60-second exposures

What it shows:

The Great Nebula, also referred to as the Orion Nebula (M42) is found in the well-known constellation of Orion. To the naked eye the nebula looks like another star in ‘Orion’s sword’. However, this skilful young photographer has shown there is more to it than meets the eye. This beautiful image shows the delicate structure and diffuse nature of this widely observed nebula.

Highly commended

The Waxing Crescent Moon by Jacob Marchio (USA) 

The Waxing Crescent Moon by Jacob Marchio (USA), aged 14

13 April 2013

What the photographer says:

‘A crescent moon is a bit of a challenge, as a thin crescent is low in the sky and makes it harder to get a sharp image. I took this photo to capture the beauty of a slender crescent.’

Orion AstroView 6 EQ Newtonian telescope; Orion AstroView equatorial mount; 150mm objective; Nikon D3100 camera; ISO 800; 1/800-second exposure

What it shows:

Just a few days after a new Moon, only a slim crescent of its sunlit side is visible from Earth. Here we can see the dark circular feature of Mare Crisium or the ‘Sea of Crises’, basking in sunshine just after the lunar dawn.