Artem Mironov is the overall winner of Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year with his image of the The Rho Ophiuchi Cloud Complex.
The Rho Ophiuchi Clouds
Artem Mironov (Russia)
Hakos Farm, Windhoek, Namibia, 6 August 2016
What is the Rho Ophiuchi Cloud Complex?
The Rho Ophiuchi Cloud Complex, known as ‘Rho Oph’ for short or the Ophiuchus Molecular Cloud, is named after a bright star in the region. It is a dark emission and reflection nebula about 14 light years across that is located about 460 light years away from Earth in the constellation of Ophiuchus (the ‘Serpent- Bearer’). It is one of the closest star-forming regions to the Solar System. The image was taken at a farm in Namibia near Gamsberg Mountain over three nights.
Sky-Watcher 200 mm f/4 reflector telescope, Sky-Watcher HEQ5 Pro mount, Canon 5D Mark II camera, ISO 1600, 15-hour total exposure
What the judges say
“This is a superb photograph and a deserved winner of its category and the competition. The photographer has produced a beautiful balance between the blue reflection nebula in the lower left and the red emission nebula in the upper right. A dark-looking dust cloud forces itself in front of them, dividing the scene in two. The image is superbly processed, with the stars sharp from edge to edge. The result is an image that has an elegant complexity to it – simply exquisite.” Pete Lawrence, judge
“An amazing image and deserving winner. As you stare into the wonderful composition of this shot, and see the pin-sharp details of individual stars and textures, you wonder what could possibly exist within it all. Take a step back and the deep silvery blue and salmon pink shades seem to be reaching towards each other, almost like Michelangelo’s ‘Creation of Adam’." Jon Culshaw, judge
What the photographer says
The desire to see further and share what’s seen is my inspiration to capture deep space objects. In the days of film photography, it was difficult to understand where the emptiness of space ends. Astrophotography is like a way to be closer to infinity, which is of course an attraction.
Time is also a factor, here on Earth I take pictures of what is happening in the moment but in the photographs I’m capturing the cosmos as it was millions of years ago. Artem Mironov, Astrophotographer