What is the Annie Maunder Prize for Image Innovation?

The Annie Maunder Prize for Image Innovation is awarded to the person who produces the best image from publicly available data.

To enter this category, you don’t need to be an experienced astrophotographer or even take your own photographs. Instead, this prize is all about how you can transform images already captured and display the wonders of the universe in a fresh light.

Using images taken by powerful research telescopes, entrants must process and manipulate the raw data in order to create a new version of that image.

How to enter Astronomy Photographer of the Year

What kind of images can I create?

There are endless options available to entrants into this prize.

The video above will help get you started, showing you how to process astronomical data and create incredible space images. Click the links below to download the accompanying guide and the data used in the video tutorial.

FITS files: Red | Green | Blue

Where can I find images that can be used for the prize?

You can use observations that have been made available to the public from research telescopes.

These telescopes can be located on the ground or in space, and the observations can include any kind of light – from high energy gamma rays to the optical light our eyes can see.

The video above explains how to search for and download your telescope data. The table below contain links to all the major organisations and observatories that provide this data.

How to download your image data

  1. Click on one of the links below
  2. Select and download your data - the PDF guide above will help you with this
  3. Convert the file to an image file, using free software such as FITS Liberator 3
  4. Manipulate the image using image software (such as Adobe Photoshop, or GIMP as a free alternative)
Organisation  Telescopes Links 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Hubble Space Telescope (HST), Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), Mars Exploration Rovers (MER), Cassini, Juno etc.

HST: https://hla.stsci.edu/

Others: https://mast.stsci.edu/portal/Mashup/Clients/Mast/Portal.html

European Space Agency (ESA)


Giotto, Huygens, Mars Express, Rosetta etc https://archives.esac.esa.int/psa/
European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) , Very Large Survey Telescope (VST), Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope (VISTA)



East Asian Observatory (EAO) James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) https://www.cadc-ccda.hia-iha.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/en/jcmt/
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) DSS1/2 (Digital Sky Survey) etc. https://skyview.gsfc.nasa.gov/current/cgi/query.pl
Las Cumbres Observatory (LCOGT) SAAO/Siding Spring (South African Astronomical Observatory) etc. https://archive.lco.global/
National Schools Observatory Liverpool Telescope https://www.schoolsobservatory.org/obs/go

Who is Annie Maunder?

This prize is named after Annie Maunder, an astronomer who worked at the Royal Observatory at the turn of the 20th century. She was an avid astrophotographer who overcame adversity to pursue her passion for astronomy. She even published some of the first popular astronomy books, featuring some of her ground-breaking images of space.

Find out more about Annie Maunder

Find out more about Astronomy Photographer of the year

(Main image: Dark River by Julie Hill, Annie Maunder Prize for Image Innovation 2020 winner)