The winning image for the Earth and Space category of the 2010 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 to try your hand at capturing these awe-inspiring light shows.
Winner of the APY 2010 Earth and Space category
The overall winning 2010 photograph for Earth and Space was ‘Blazing Bristlecone’ by Tom Lowe (USA). Taken using a Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR camera with a Canon EF 16-35mm lens, this image shows the gnarled branches of an ancient tree aligning with a view of our Milky Way galaxy.
This view of the Milky Way is looking towards the centre of our galaxy, 26,000 light years away, where dark clouds of dust blot out the light of more distant stars. What appears to be an artiﬁcial satellite orbiting the Earth makes a faint streak of light across the centre of the image.
‘Being a timelapse photographer, it's natural for me to attempt to picture our world from the point of view of these ancient trees,’ Lowe told us. ‘Seasons and weather would barely register as events over a lifetime of several thousand years.’
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.