The highly commended image for the Planets, Comets and Asteroids category of the 2015 Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.
The Planets, Comets and Asteroids category is for everything in our solar system not covered by the other competition categories, and so includes satellites, comets, asteroids and other forms of zodiacal debris. Visit How to photograph comets for expert tips.
Highly Commended for the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 Planets, Comets and Asteroids category
The highly commended photo for the 2015 Planets, Comets and Asteroids category was ‘Mars Next to the Moon’ by Eric Toops (USA). Photographed from Hoschton in Jackson County, Georgia, USA, it was taken using a Meade APO telescope, an EQ6 mount and a Point Grey video camera with a 1000mm lens. The image was achieved with a 20-millisecond exposure.
Eric told us: 'Planet-Moon conjunctions are always interesting to see in the sky. Moving away from Earth in July, Mars was relatively small and I did not expect to get much in my image, but was pleasantly surprised to see some good detail of the Martian surface. Using a small-sensor colour camera I was only able to get a little piece of the Moon in the shot; however, the scale of the Moon next to Mars made for an interesting picture.'
‘I love the sense of these two worlds emerging from the blackness of space,' competition judge Marek Kukula said. 'Mars is larger than the Moon but so much further away that it appears tiny by comparison — a reminder of why sending humans to Mars will be such a challenge.’
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.