Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year at the Royal Observatory Greenwich – 2016 winners announced

Chinese photographer Yu Jun has beaten thousands of amateur and professional photographers from around the globe to win the title of Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016. As well as securing the £10,000 top prize, his image takes pride of place in the exhibition of winning photographs opening at the Royal Observatory Greenwich on 17 September 2016.

The judges were captivated by Jun’s unusual image illustrating the phenomenon of Baily’s Beads of the total solar eclipse on 9th March 2016 from Luwuk, Indonesia, over a matter of mere minutes. Made up of several stacked images, the camera reveals what is usually hidden to the naked eye, stretching out the movements of the Moon across the face of the Sun illustrating the uneven surface of our natural satellite as beads of sunlight seep from behind the dark lunar disc. Competition judge and Royal Observatory Public Astronomer, Dr Marek Kukula said:

“This is such a visually striking image, with its succession of fiery arcs all perfectly balanced around the pitch black circle of totality. It’s even more impressive when you realise what it shows: the progress of a solar eclipse, all compressed into a single frame with consummate skill and precision. A tremendous achievement that pushes the boundaries of what modern astrophotography can achieve.”

Placed images of the other categories and special prizes include the touching scene of a Maasai warrior bestowing his knowledge of the stars on his son as they gaze up at the Milky Way by Robin Stuart (Kenya); the seemingly pop art inspired canvas of the rainbow of colours exhibited by the brightest star in our sky, Sirius, taken by Steve Brown (UK); the arresting sight of Comet Catalina hurtling through the night sky, leaving a dust trail in its wake, whilst a second tail of ionised gas emanates from its coma, shot by Gerald Rhemann (Austria); and an astonishing capture of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, showcasing stars of all ages lying within its 14,000 light-year diameter, from the camera of Carlos Fairbairn (Brazil), winning him the Sir Patrick Moore prize for Best Newcomer. The entrants in the Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year category dazzled the judges again this year, with 15 year old Brendan Devine (USA) taking home the top prize for his innovative image of the Moon, which he inverted to bring out the intricate details of the rugged, lunar landscape that we often miss in more traditional shots.

BBC Sky at Night Magazine’s Editor Chris Bramley, who is a judge for the competition, said of this year’s contest:

“There were so many fantastic images this year. The winning entries, and indeed the whole field, show that the entrants' technical abilities and creative eye have never been sharper. They capture the quiet, majestic beauty of the night sky above a world that’s increasingly frenetic and light-polluted.”

Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year is run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with Insight Investment and BBC Sky at Night Magazine. Now in its eighth year, the competition received a record number of over 4500 entries from over 80 countries. The best of these exceptional photographs – winners, runners-up or highly commended in the competition’s different categories and special prizes – are showcased in a free exhibition in the Royal Observatory’s Astronomy Centre which is open to the public from 17 September 2016 until 28 June 2017. Winners and shortlisted entries will also be published in the competition’s official book by Collins, available exclusively in the Royal Observatory Greenwich shop from 17 September and on sale across all bookstores and online from 3 November, £25. For information about entering next year’s competition visit www.rmg.co.uk/astrophoto.

Exhibition information for visitors:

Venue: Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

Dates: 17 September 2016–28 June 2017

Opening times: every day, 10.00–17.00 (closed 24–26 December)

Visitor enquiries: 020 8858 4422

Admission: Entry to the Astronomy Centre and to the exhibition is free

Website: www.rmg.co.uk/astrophoto

Notes to editors:

1. Full details of 2016’s winners:

Our Sun

  • Yu Jun (China) with Baily’s Beads (Winner and Overall Winner)
  • Catalin Beldea and Alson Wong (Romania; USA) with Sun Flower Corona (Runner Up)
  • Gabriel Octavian Corban (Romania) with Huge Filaprom (Highly Commended)

Aurorae

  • György Soponyai (Hungary) with Twilight Aurora (Winner)
  • Kolbein Svensson (Norway) with Black and White Aurora (Runner Up)
  • Bernt Olsen (Norway) with Corona (Highly Commended)

Galaxies

  • Nicolas Outters (France) with M94: Deep Space Halo (Winner)
  • Ignacio Diaz Bobillo (Argentina) with Towards the Small Magellanic Cloud (Runner Up)
  • Rolf Wahl Olsen (Denmark) with Antlia Galaxy Cluster: Extreme Deep Field, 152 Hours (Highly Commended)

Our Moon

  • Jordi Delpeix Borrell (Spain) with From Maurolycus to Moretus (Winner)
  • Katherine Young (Sweden) with Rise Lunation (Runner Up)
  • Sergio Garcia (Mexico) with Moonrise at the Pier (Highly Commended)

People and Space

  • Wing Ka Ho (Hong Kong) with City Lights (Winner)
  • Dani Caxete (Spain) with Man on the Moon (Runner Up)
  • Robin Stuart (Kenya) with A Wise Son Makes a Glad Father (Highly Commended)

Planets, Comets and Asteroids

  • Damian Peach (UK) with Serene Saturn (Winner)
  • Gerald Rhemann (Austria) with Comet Catalina (Runner Up)
  • Damian Peach (UK) with King of the Planets (Highly Commended)

Skyscapes

  • Ainsley Bennett (UK) with Binary Haze (Winner)
  • Mikko Silvola (Finland) with Silent Waves of the Sky: Noctilucent Clouds (Runner Up)
  • Yu Jun (China) with Geminids over the LAMOST Telescope (Highly Commended)

Stars and Nebulae

  • Steve Brown (UK) with The Rainbow Star (Winner)
  • Pavel Pech (Czech Republic) with Perseus Molecular Cloud (Runner Up)
  • Tom O’Donoghue (Ireland) with Starlight and Silhouettes (Highly Commended)

Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year

  • Brendan Devine (USA – aged 15) with Lunar Reversal (Winner)
  • Jasmin Villalobos (USA – aged 15) with What the City Does Not Show You (Runner Up)
  • Jonathan Farooqi (UK – aged 15) with Northumbrian Aurora (Highly Commended)
  • Olivia Williamson (UK – aged 12) with Jupiter (Highly Commended)
  • Scott Carnie-Bronca (Australia – aged 14) with Just Missed the Bullseye (Highly Commended)

Special Prize: The Sir Patrick Moore prize for Best Newcomer

  • Carlos Fairbairn (Brazil) with Large Magellanic Cloud (Winner)

Special Prize: Robotic Scope

  • Robert Smith (UK) with Iridis (Winner)

2. The winners of Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016 are announced at an award ceremony at the Royal Observatory on 15 September 2016. The winning photographs will be exhibited in the Astronomy Centre from 17 September 2016. Entry to the exhibition is free.

3. The overall winner will receive £10,000. Winners of all other categories and the Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year will receive £1,500. There are also prizes for runners-up (£500) and highly commended (£250) entries. The Special Prize winners will receive £750. All of the winning entries will receive a one year subscription to BBC Sky at Night Magazine.

4. The Royal Observatory Greenwich is home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian and one of the most important historic scientific sites in the world. Since its founding in 1675, Greenwich has been at the centre of the measurement of time and space. Today the Observatory galleries and Peter Harrison Planetarium help unravel the extraordinary phenomena of time, space and astronomy.

5. The Royal Observatory Greenwich is part of Royal Museums Greenwich which also incorporates the National Maritime Museum, the 17th-century Queen’s House and Cutty Sark. Royal Museums Greenwich works to illustrate for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationship with people. This unique collection of museums and heritage buildings, which form a key part of the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site, welcomes over two and a half million British and international visitors a year and is also a major centre of education and research

6. About Insight Investment

Insight Investment is a leading asset manager focused on designing investment solutions to meet its clients’ needs. Founded in 2002, Insight’s partnership approach has delivered both investment performance and impressive growth in assets under management. Insight manages £499bn ($667bn) across liability-driven investment, fixed income & currency, global multi-asset and absolute return, global farmland and specialist equities*. The value of investments and any income from them will fluctuate and is not guaranteed (this may be partly due to exchange rate fluctuations). Investors may not get back the full amount invested. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

www.insightinvestment.com. Assets under management are represented by the value of cash securities and other economic exposure managed for clients. The assets under management figure represents the combined assets under management of Insight Investment Management (Global) Limited, Pareto Investment Management Limited, Insight Investment Funds Management Limited, Cutwater Investor Services Corporation and Cutwater Asset Management Corporation (Cutwater Asset Management). CISC and CAMC are owned by BNY Mellon and operated by Insight. Data as of 30 June 2016.

7. BBC Sky at Night Magazine is Britain's best-selling astronomy title, with a circulation of 25,000 copies a month. skyatnightmagazine.com has 34,000 unique users a month and reaches more than 35,000 social media followers through Facebook and Twitter. The magazine is available on iTunes Newsstand, Google Play and Zinio as well as in print, and is media partner of the annual Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

With writing from the world’s leading astronomers and writers, BBC Sky at Night Magazine complements one of the world's longest running TV programmes, The Sky at Night, and features regular articles from its presenters Chris Lintott, Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Pete Lawrence, plus in-depth equipment reviews and stargazing advice. BBC Sky at Night Magazine is published by Immediate Media Co under licence from BBC Worldwide.

8. The Royal Observatory, in partnership with Collins, will be publishing Astronomy Photographer Of The Year, Collection 5 on 3 November 2016. The official publication for the Insight Astronomy Photography of the Year competition will showcase over 130 breathtaking images of space and the night sky, including all 2016 winning and shortlisted images. Photographs will be accompanied by full details including photographer’s information, location where photographs were taken, technical specifications and judge’s comments.

Last years’ prize winning images are still available to buy: Astronomy Photographer Of The Year, Collection 4 / RRP £25.00 / Hardback / Published 5 November 2015 / Royal Museums Greenwich online shop

For further information or to request review copies please contact: Alice Crespi/ alice.crespi@harpercollins.co.uk / DL: 0208 305 4252

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Media interviews:

The Royal Observatory Greenwich's Modern Astronomy team is dedicated to the Public Understanding of Science and its experts are available to give radio and TV interviews on astronomy - at the historic Observatory site or in the studio.

The Observatory offers a short notice service to media stations looking for comment / interviews on any aspect of modern astronomy – discussing new discoveries and space missions, telling people what to look for in this month's night sky, or talking about old favourites like black holes, is there ‘life’ and the origins of the universe.

For studio quality and interviews at short notice an ISDN line is available.

For further information or images, please contact:

Rhianon Davies, Royal Observatory Greenwich Press Office Tel: 020 8312 6545 | 07983 512 841 or Email: rdavies@rmg.co.uk