Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 Stars and Nebulae: Runners-up

The runners-up images for the Stars and Nebulae category of the 2015 Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. 

The Stars and Nebulae category is for photos featuring deep-space objects within the Milky Way galaxy, including stars, star clusters, supernova remnants, nebulae and other galactic phenomena. 

Runners-up in the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 Stars and Nebulae category

There were two runner-up images for the 2015 Stars and Nebulae category:

The first joint runner-up was 'Sirius 9798' by David Pye (UK), taken in the neighbourhood of Finchley in north London. It was achieved with a Coolpix P80 camera with 486 mm f/4.5 lens, and at ISO 800 with a two-second exposure.

Stars twinkle because of refraction through our turbulent atmosphere. Different parts of the spectrum are affected differently so the colour changes rapidly — usually too quickly for the eye to see. But drawing the image out into a streak shows a beautiful sequence (try jiggling binoculars). Sirius works best simply because it is the brightest.

Psychedelic glow stick? No, the brightest star in our night sky! A sense of euphoria emanates from this picture, with the joyful swirls revealing all the colours of the spectrum. It is an unusual kind of star trail: it records the movement of the camera, rather than that of the Earth. Competition judge Melanie Vandenbrouck 

The second joint runner-up prize went to Tom O’Donoghue and Olly Penrice (Ireland), whose 'Orion Mega Mosaic' was taken in both the Almanzora Valley, in Almeria, Spain, and Haute-Provence in France. The pair used a Takahashi FSQ telescope, a Mesu 200/EM200 mount and an Atik 11000 camera with 530mm f/5 lens.

Tom told us: 'I started taking this photo from Spain in 2011, and after shooting the main central part of the Orion Nebula, I wanted to try and capture the four corner stars and go deep in search of all the dust in-between those markers. In 2014 I teamed up with Olly Penrice to help me finish this project in RGB [Red/Green/Blue] and H-alpha [Hydrogen-alpha]. In total we ended up with 34 panes totalling over 400 hours of exposures. Calibration of the data was done by myself and Olly.'

'The dedication and effort that has gone into producing [this image] is truly remarkable,' competition judge Will Gater enthused. 'But it’s also an enthralling picture to look at. To see this vast expanse of sky in Orion in this much detail, with billowing nebulae and glittering star fields, is just wonderful. I’ll certainly never look at this region in quite the same way again.’ 

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.

Visit the exhibition