The night sky has inspired countless aspects of life as we know it, from stories passed down through generations to scientific discoveries bringing us closer to understanding the cosmos.

Yet, for all the knowledge we might have today, our yearning to comprehend what lies beyond, to contemplate the meaning of the Universe, of life and our place in it, has only intensified.

From silhouetted figures in front of the Milky Way to the International Space Station passing the Moon, the images in this year’s People and Space category highlight our connection to space.

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

Visit Astronomy Photographer of the Year


The winning image

Zeila by Vikas Chander

Taken in Hentiesbaai (Henties Bay), Erongo Region,  Namibia, 18 September 2022 

"The name ‘Skeleton Coast’ conjures up all sorts of demons and horrors in the mind’s eye and rightly so," says Vikas.

"It is one of the most treacherous coastlines in the world due to the strong crosscurrents, heavy swells and dense fog caused by the ice-cold fast-flowing Benguela current.

"Conditions combine to form a deadly cocktail which has resulted in numerous shipwrecks dotting the coast, giving it this moniker. Among the many shipwrecks which lie along the coast, the Zeila is one of the more recent and is therefore still in a well-preserved state."

Equipment used: Nikon D850 camera, 135 mm f/2.8, ISO 200, 30-minute exposure 

I really love how the star trails poking through the grey sky provide a stunning backdrop for this stranded ship. It looks as though it’s floating on a sea of fog. It is a hauntingly beautiful image that would be the perfect setting for a ghost story and is one of my favourites from this year’s competition. 

Melissa Brobby, competition judge


A Visit to Tycho by Andrew McCarthy 

Taken in Florence, Arizona, USA, 4 January 2022

"Our lonely moon hasn't had a human visitor since the final moments of the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Yet with the right perspective, sometimes it seems like we're close," Andrew says.

"In this photo, the International Space Station briefly passed between the Moon and my position on Earth, a moment lasting just half a second."

Equipment used: Celestron C11 and Sky-Watcher 14" GoTo Dobsonian telescopes, Astronomik UV/IR cut filter, 2.5x Powermate lens, Hobym Traveller mount, ZWO ASI174mm and Sony A7II cameras, 4,125 mm and 2,000 mm f/10, ISO 300 and 50, 2,000 x 0.2-millisecond and 25 x 1/200-second exposures 


Highly commended

Close Encounters of the Haslingden Kind by Katie McGuinness 

Taken in Haslingden, Lancashire, UK, 26 April 2022 

"Haslingden Halo is one of four panopticon sculptures located on the hills of East Lancashire," Katie explains.

The Halo is an 18-metre diameter sculpture illuminated by hundreds of bright LED lights. Seeing the illuminated sculpture, on top of a hill, evokes the image of the movie poster for Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

Equipment used: Sony ILCE-7M4 camera, 20 mm f/4, ISO 160; Sky: 151 x 25-second exposures; Foreground: 5-second exposure 

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See the full shortlist

Explore all the photographs in the People and Space category.


The End of the Dream by Jean-Francois Graffand

Taken in Gavarnie, Occitanie, France, 1 July 2022 


Next Stop, the Cosmos by Christopher Forden

Taken in Sea Lake, Victoria, Australia, 31 August 2022


Pandora's Box by Derek Horlock

Taken on Alyko Beach, Naxos, Greece, 26 July 2022


China Space Station Transits Active Sun by Letian Wang

Taken in Beijing, China, 10 September 2022 


Sperrgebiet by Vikas Chander

Taken in Bogenfels, Namib Desert, Namibia, 21 September 2022 


Worship the Night by Jake Mosher

Taken near Havre, Montana, USA, 25 June 2022


Child in Time by Tervel Kutsev

Taken in Shiroka Polyana Dam, Pazardzhik Province, Bulgaria, 24 June 2022


Winter White Tiger by Tianwei Wang

Taken in Zhengning County, Gansu Province, China, 18 February 2023 


Abandoned Beach Hotel by Derek Horlock

Taken on Alyko Beach, Naxos, Greece, 26 July 2022


Dolbadarn Castle – Home of Welsh Princes by Robert Price

Llanberis, Gwynedd, Wales, UK, 28 April 2022 


Rock Climbers With the Best View of the Blood Moon by Chris Olivas

Taken in Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA, 15 May 2022 

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