Astrophotography is becoming an increasingly accessible endeavour. Technology that enables photographers to capture the planets in our Solar System, nearby stars and other celestial bodies is now available and affordable to more and more people.

The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer highlights the work of new entrants to the world of astrophotography. This category is open to photographers who have been practising their craft for a relatively short period and have not previously entered Astronomy Photographer of the Year.

Filled with creativity, the winning and shortlisted images showcase the diversity and vastness of the cosmos, from glittering meteor showers to galaxies hundreds of millions of light years away. 

Find out more about the winning images and explore the full shortlist below.

Visit Astronomy Photographer of the Year

The winning image

The Heart of the Heart – Melotte 15 by Hannah Rochford

Heart Nebula

Image taken at Bruton, Somerset, UK

"I started deep-sky imaging with a telescope and camera in November 2021. This is my third deep-sky image using this equipment. It’s a crop of the Heart Nebula, focusing on the open star cluster Melotte 15. I have always wanted to image this target and I am so pleased that I was able to," Hannah says.

"27 hours of integration time, over five nights (creeping into early mornings) in January 2022, went into it. When my first H-alpha sub came in, I cried. I couldn’t believe I was able to capture detail like this. I used narrowband filters and mapped the image to the Hubble palette (SHO). I then used PixInsight and Photoshop for processing."

"Given that this is just my third mono image, I’m very pleased with the result. Astrophotography is so amazing for my wellbeing and mental health. I feel so lucky to be able to create images like this from my back garden. I love that the camera I used has picked up so many details in the delicate structures and filaments of the nebula."

Equipment used: SkyWatcher Evostar 80ED telescope (with 0.85x reducer), Baader ultra narrowband filters, SkyWatcher EQ6R-pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MM Pro camera, 510 mm f/6.37, 333 x 300-second (H-alpha x 102, OIII x 129, SII x 102) exposures

This is a wonderfully balanced image: lots of softness without being fuzzy, and lots of colour without being harsh. It is incredible to capture the fine details (for anyone, let alone a newcomer!), and is framed well to draw the viewer in. It's a real achievement. Absolutely beautiful.


Ed Bloomer, competition judge

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