For centuries, we have been fascinated by the wonders of the Universe. However, as technology progresses and humanity matures, we have become increasingly disconnected from the cosmos.

The winning and shortlisted images in the Skyscapes category invite us to consider our place on Earth and within the Universe. Evoking feelings of awe and wonder, these photographs showcase the Earth’s natural wonders – and our own engineering feats – against the backdrop of the heavens.

From the Milky Way stretching over lakes to suspension bridges illuminated by the Moon, find out more about the winning images and explore the full shortlist below.

Visit Astronomy Photographer of the Year

The winning image

Stabbing into the Stars by Zihui Hu

Shooting stars rain down over a snow capped mountain

Image taken in Nyingchi, Tibet, China

"Namcha Barwa is the most beautiful snow-capped mountain in China," Zihui says.

"The name of the mountain in Tibetan means ‘spear thrusting into the sky’. This untouched land is also home to the purest of starry skies, the trails of which weave a wide net even on Full Moon days. Namcha Barwa, like a spear, pierces this net."

Equipment used: Sony ILCE-7R3 camera, Tamron 150–500mm lens, 150mm f5.6, 75 x 30-second exposures

This is a beautiful image of star trails set against snow-capped mountains, which appear serene in their stillness, as the stars seemingly continue on their journey in the background.

Melissa Brobby, competition judge


Badwater Milky Way by Abhijit Patil

Image taken in Death Valley, California, USA

"Some of the most exquisite locations in Death Valley National Park are the salt flats at Badwater Basin," Abhijit explains.

"Every winter brings new rainwater to the flats and the continuous freeze-thaw-evaporate process creates these hexagonal patterns in the mud. This was the most unique salt structure I had ever seen."

Equipment used: iOptron SkyGuider Pro mount, Nikon Z6 II camera, 14 mm f/3.5 and f/11, ISO 100/1000; Sky: 300-second exposure; Foreground: 5-second exposure

I have never seen anything like this! I love the majestic beauty of the Milky Way against the harsh and ugly salt plains. The hexagons of the flats are like a honeycomb. I think blending these two phenomena is very clever.

Sheila Kanani, competition judge

Highly commended

The Night Highway by Filip Hrebenda

Image taken in Stokksnes Peninsula, Iceland

"After a long evening shooting at the foot of Iceland’s Eystrahorn mountain, I went back to my basecamp," Filip recalls.

"Even though I was really tired I decided to use the rest of the clear night to photograph the stars over the famous Vestrahorn mountain. It was worth it. Having the Milky Way and an aurora in a single photo is a rare thing."

Equipment used: Sony ILCE-7RM3A camera, 16 mm f/2.8, ISO 3200, 10-second exposure


This photograph is a testament to dedicated photographers everywhere. It might have taken just a fraction of a second to capture, but the planning, dedication and commitment are the ingredients that make the difference in producing an image as wonderful as this. The foreground neatly leads us towards the mountain, backlit by the aurorae and with a guest appearance from the Milky Way.

Alan Sparrow, competition judge

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