The runner-up image for the Our Solar System category of the 2013 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.
Runner-up of the APY 2013 Our Solar System category
The runner-up in 2013 for this category was ‘Magnetic Maelstrom’ by Alan Friedman (USA), who used an Astro-Physics Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope, an Astro-Physics 900 mount, a Point Grey Research Grasshopper2 camera and a 255mm lens to obtain his close-up of the central area of Active Region 1520.
The darkest patches, or umbrae, in this image are each about the size of Earth, with the entire region of magnetic turmoil spanning the diameter of ten Earths. This image captures rich details directly around the sunspots and further out in the so-called ‘quiet’ Sun, where simmering hot plasma rises, cools and falls back.
We visited Alan Friedman on location to understand the story behind ‘Magnetic Maelstrom’:
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.