Stargazing is a shared human experience, one that defies terrestrial borders.

Our inherent curiosity about space and our drive to explore it has seen us push the boundaries of technology, enabling us to uncover the majesty and mysteries of the Universe.

From ancient stone structures to satellites orbiting our planet, natural landmarks to skyscrapers, the images in this year’s People and Space category highlight our connection to the cosmos. Crucially, they remind us that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves.

Discover more about the winning images and explore the full shortlist below.

Visit Astronomy Photographer of the Year

The winning image

The International Space Station Transiting Tranquility Base by Andrew McCarthy

Space station flying over the Moon

Image taken in Florence, Arizona, USA

"This image features the International Space Station (ISS) positioned directly over the Apollo 11 Moon-landing site on the Sea of Tranquility." Andrew recalls.

"The moment only lasted a handful of milliseconds and required me to precisely position myself on Earth to capture the pass at the perfect time. This image was achieved by shooting at very high frame rates and fast shutter speeds at 2,800 mm to capture the station and the Moon in such crisp detail."

Equipment used: Celestron C11 and Explore Scientific AR127 telescopes, iOptron CEM70 mount, UV/IR Cut filter, ZWO ASI174MM and Sony A7 II cameras, 2,800 mm f/10, 0.3-millisecond exposure

The symbol of man, the tiny silhouette of the ISS, is dwarfed by the vast and detailed lunar surface, coloured by mineral deposits. It shows us just how fragile we are.

László Francsics, competition judge


Back to the Spaceship by Mihail Minkov

Image taken in Buzludzha, Balkan Mountains, Stara Zagora Province, Bulgaria

"The 1,432-metre peak of Buzludzha in the central Balkan Mountains is home to a futurist monument commemorating the first meeting in 1891 of what would become the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers Party (later the Bulgarian Communist Party)." Mihail says.

"Although the building is now closed to the public, its space-age silhouette is the perfect complement for dramatic images of the night sky such as this."

Equipment used: Sony A7 III camera; Foreground: 15 mm f/5.6, ISO 100, 3.2-second exposure; Sky: 28 mm f/3.5, ISO 800, 240-exposure

An exceptional image of an iconic Brutalist building, perched on the northernmost edge of Bulgaria’s Balkan Mountains. The spaceship-like structure, combined with the luminous skyscape and the ascending figure, create an eerie yet calming symphony.

Hannah Lyons, competition judge

Highly commended

Equinox Moon and Glastonbury Tor by Hannah Rochford

Image taken in Glastonbury, Somerset, UK

"I took this [image] from a few miles away from the Tor to get that ‘gigantic’ Moon look," Hannah says.

"Capturing the Moon is what led me into my deep-sky astrophotography journey, which is my favourite thing. A lot of people think that this is a composite, but it is one image. I took it with my 10-year-old, second-hand Canon camera."

Equipment used: Sigma 150–600mm telescope, SLIK tripod, Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, 600 mm f/6.37, 1/8-second exposure

All the judges loved that this image was precisely planned but didn’t feel staged: a peek at foreground figures, some of whom seem to be viewing the moon in reverence (and some who don’t seem to be paying much attention...). For all its beauty and celebratory mood, there is perhaps an undercurrent of unease, seeing human construct like the Tor absolutely dwarfed by the Earth’s natural satellite.

Ed Bloomer, competition judge

Our partners