The winning image for the Skyscapes category of the 2015 Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.
The Skyscapes category is for landscape and cityscape images of twilight and the night sky featuring the Milky Way, star trails, meteor showers, comets, conjuctions, constellation rises, halos and noctilucent clouds alongside elements of earthly scenery.
Winner of the IAPY 2015 Skyscapes category
The 2015 winner for the Skyscapes category is 'Eclipse Totality over Sassendalen' by Luc Jamet, (France) - who was also the overall winner of the 2015 competition. The photo of the solar eclipse was taken in Spitsbergen, in Svalbard, Norway, using a Canon EOS 7D camera with a 16mm f/5 lens. The image was achieved at ISO 200 and with three exposures: at 1/6-, 1/2- and 1.6 seconds.
Totality had begun 16 seconds before this picture was taken,' Luc told us, 'about 100 metres above Sassendalen, Spitsbergen. The photo is an HDR [High Dynamic Range] composition made from three takes. We can see clearly the lunar shadow’s edge in the sky. The bright spot in the upper left of the photo is Venus.'
Competition judge Pete Lawrence commented: ‘This is just a supremely beautiful image, which got joint admiration from all of the judges. The colours are perfect and the blend of the isolated snowy landscape frames the surreal majesty of the totally eclipsed Sun perfectly. It’s an incredibly peaceful image.’
Melanie Vandenbrouck added: ‘It is one of those heart-stoppingly beautiful shots for which you feel grateful to the photographer for sharing such an exceptional moment. The delicate disc of the occulted Sun is perfectly silhouetted in the sky, and you can almost feel the below-zero temperature, the cool breeze of the Arctic. The snow is pristine, as if no one had ever stepped on it. This is an otherworldly landscape, which could be on an as-yet-unexplored planet.’
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.