Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer Of The Year Competition Dates And New Judges Announced

The Royal Observatory Greenwich, in association with Insight Investment and BBC Sky at Night Magazine, announces the dates for the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2019 (IIAPY) competition – its annual global search for the most beautiful and magnificent visions of the cosmos, whether they are striking pictures of vast galaxies millions of light years away, or dramatic images of the night sky much closer to home. 

Now in its eleventh year, the vastly popular competition will open to entrants on Monday 14 January 2019, giving them a chance of taking home the grand prize of £10,000. Entrants will have until Friday 8 March 2019 to enter up to ten images into the various categories of the competition via


This year, the competition will see four new judges joining the panel of experts. BBC Sky at Night Magazine’s Steve Marsh joins the judging panel for the competition in 2019. Marsh has been the Art Editor at the magazine since 2007 and as such a large part of his role involves choosing the best astrophotography to feature for the readers. On being a judge Marsh said, “I have been involved in every annual IIAPY competition since its conception 10 years ago and I am extremely excited and honoured to join the judging panel and can’t wait to see what the incredibly talented astrophotographers of the world throw at us this year.”


The second addition to the panel is the Director of Fleet Street’s Finest and Chairman of UK Picture Editors Guild, Alan Sparrow. With 15 years’ of experience as an Executive Picture Editor at Metro newspaper, 16 years as Night Picture Editor, Deputy Picture Editor and News Picture Editor at The Guardian, and as a founding member of the Sony World Press Photo Awards, Sparrow brings a wealth of experience to the judging panel.


The Astronomy Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), Associate Lecturer in Physics, Astronomy and Space Science at the Open University, and freelance science editor, Dr Mandy Bailey is the third new addition to the judging panel. Upon joining the competition Dr Bailey commented, “The cosmos holds a great wonder for us all, using colour and form to illustrate the science of our Universe and using science to inform the artistic composition produces breath-taking images. I am really looking forward to seeing the inspirational mix of art and science from this year’s entrants.”


Tom Kerss, Astronomer and a Science Communicator at the Royal Observatory Greenwich is the final new judge that will be joining the competition of 2019. Kerss, a keen observer and an avid astrophotographer, has a background in astrophysics and spacecraft engineering and has been a part of the Royal Observatory’s science communication team for five years.


All of the winners, runners up and highly commended entries from this year alongside some of the best shortlisted images of Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2019 competition, will be displayed in the dedicated gallery space at the National Maritime Museum and will feature 100 breathtaking images.


Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2019 has nine main categories:


  • Skyscapes: Landscape and cityscape images of twilight and the night sky featuring the Milky Way, star trails, meteor showers, comets, conjunctions, constellation rises, halos and noctilucent clouds alongside elements of earthly scenery.


  • Aurorae: Photographs featuring the Northern and Southern Lights.


  • People and Space: Photographs of the night sky including people or a human interest element.


  • Our Sun: Solar images including solar eclipses and transits.


  • Our Moon: Lunar images including lunar eclipses and occultation of planets.


  • Planets, Comets and Asteroids: Everything else in our solar system, including planets and their satellites, comets, asteroids and other forms of zodiacal debris.


  • Stars and Nebulae: Deep space objects within the Milky Way galaxy, including stars, star clusters, supernova remnants, nebulae and other intergalactic phenomena.


  • Galaxies: Deep space objects beyond the Milky Way galaxy, including galaxies, galaxy clusters, and stellar associations.


  • Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year: Pictures taken by budding astronomers under the age of 16 years.


There are also two special prizes: The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer is awarded to the best photo by an amateur astrophotographer who has taken up the hobby in the last year and who has not entered an image into the competition before, and Robotic Scope recognizes the best photo taken using one of the increasing number of computer-controlled telescopes at prime observing sites around the world, which can be accessed over the internet by members of the public.


Entries to the competition must be submitted by 8 March 2019, and the winning images will be showcased in the annual exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in autumn 2019.


Photographers can enter online by visiting and each entrant may submit up to ten images to the competition.



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1. The winners of Royal Observatory’s Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2019 will be announced at an award ceremony at the National Maritime Museum in autumn 2019. The winning photographs will be exhibited in the National Maritime Museum alongside a selection of shortlisted images. General admission will be £10.


2. The overall winner will receive £10,000. Winners of all other categories and the Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year will receive £1,500. There are also prizes for runners-up (£500) and highly commended (£250) entries. The Special Prize winners will receive £750. All of the winning entries will receive a one year subscription to BBC Sky at Night Magazine


3. The Royal Observatory Greenwich is home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian and one of the most important historic scientific sites in the world. Since its founding in 1675, Greenwich has been at the centre of the measurement of time and space, and visitors today can still stand on the historic Prime Meridian line. The Observatory galleries and Peter Harrison Planetarium help unravel the extraordinary phenomena of time, space and astronomy. In 2018 the Royal Observatory acquired the Annie Maunder Astrographic Telescope (AMAT), the first new telescope to be installed in Greenwich in over 60 years, marking a new era for the world-famous site and restoring its status as a working Observatory.


The Royal Observatory Greenwich is part of Royal Museums Greenwich which also incorporates the National Maritime Museum, the Queen’s House and Cutty Sark. This unique collection of museums and heritage buildings, which form a key part of the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site, welcomes over two and a half million British and international visitors a year and is also a major centre of education and research. The mission of Royal Museums Greenwich is to enrich people’s understanding of the sea, the exploration of space, and Britain's role in world history. For more information visit


4. About Insight Investment

Insight Investment is a leading global investment manager, founded in 2002 and headquartered in London. Insight primarily manages money for pension schemes by providing liability-driven investment strategies and investing in fixed income and currency, multi-asset and farmland.


5. About BBC Sky at Night Magazine

BBC Sky at Night Magazine is Britain's best-selling astronomy magazine, with a circulation of 20,700 copies a month. has 36,000 visits a month and reaches 50,000 social media followers through Facebook and Twitter. The magazine is available on Apple Newsstand, Google Play and Zinio as well as in print, and is media partner of the annual Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich. With writing from the world’s leading astronomers and science communicators, BBC Sky at Night Magazine complements one of the world's longest running TV programmes, BBC Four’s The Sky at Night, and is published by Immediate Media Co under licence from BBC Worldwide.


6. The Royal Observatory Greenwich, in partnership with Collins, will be publishing Astronomy Photographer of the Year, Collection 8 in autumn 2019. It is the official publication for the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition and will showcase over 140 breathtaking images of space and the night sky, including all 2019 winning and a selection of shortlisted images. Photographs will be accompanied by full details including each photographer’s information, location where photographs were taken, technical specifications and judges’ comments.

Last year’s prize-winning images are still available to buy: Astronomy Photographer of the Year, Collection 7 / RRP £25.00 / Hardback / Published 24 October 2018 / Royal Museums Greenwich online shop

For further information or to request review copies please contact: Rachel Quin / / DL: 0208 307 4085





Media interviews:

The Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Modern Astronomy team is dedicated to the public understanding of science and its experts are available to give radio and TV interviews on astronomy - at the historic Observatory site or in the studio.


The Observatory offers a short notice service to media stations looking for comment/ interviews on any aspect of modern astronomy - discussing new discoveries and space missions, telling people what to look for in this month's night sky, or talking about old favourites like black holes, is there life beyond Earth and the origins of the universe.


For studio quality and interviews at short notice an ISDN line is available.


For further information or images, please contact:

Antonia Mavromatidou, Royal Observatory Greenwich Press Office Tel: 020 8312 6545/6790

or Email: or