By Freya Coombes

THE SHORTLISTED photographers for the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Award 2022 show the best of high definition constellations, galaxies and astronomic phenomena this year.

Run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, supported by Liberty Speciality Markets and in association with BBC Sky at Night Magazine, the Astronomy Photographer award is running for the 14th year, marking the very best in astronomical photography.

There are nine categories as well as an overall winner of the competitions. These categories are Skyscapes, Aurorae, People and Space, Our Sun, Our Moon, Planets, Comets and Asteroids, Stars and Nebulae, Galaxies and Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year.

“Awe-inspiring scenes of the Milky Way rising, galaxies colliding, stellar nurseries, the luminous Aurora Borealis dancing across the night’s sky and Saturn balanced by its moons all feature in the shortlist for this year’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year,” said a spokesperson from the award.

“NGC 6888- The Cresent Nebula” by Bray Falls. A deep view of the Crescent Nebula in Cygnus, the result of shockwaves originating from the Wolf?Rayet star WR 134. This is a bicolour narrowband image with RGB stars. The nebula details were created from a false bicolour narrowband combination of H-alpha and OIII, and the star colours were added from a natural RGB image. All exposures were captured with a high frequency AO guider at very high resolution (0.2″/pixel), requiring great seeing. Taken with a ZWO-ASI6200MM-Cool camera, 3654 mm f/9, 45 hours of 10-minute exposures.

“One of the themes captured by some of the entrants this year was the impact of pollution and light pollution on astrophotography. Sean Goebel was only able to capture his harmonious image of the moon aligning with the iconic Los Angeles skyline thanks to a winter storm dispersing the haze of pollution and allowing a clear view.

“In 2022, the competition received over three thousand entries from passionate amateur and dedicated professional photographers, submitted from sixty seven countries across the globe.”

One photo, titled “An Icelandic Saga”, entered into the Aurorae category shows the Aurora Borealis above the wreck of the Gardur in the Westfjords region of Iceland. This image was captured by Carl Gallagher.

Another image by Yang Sutie titled “The Starry Sky Over the World’s Highest National highway” shows National Highway 219 in Tibet illuminated against the earth while the Milky Way galaxy spreads above.

“Ladder to the Stars” by Mihail Minkov. A stacked shot with 15 single exposures, taken in May 2021 at Shiroka Polyana Dam, one of the darkest sports in Bulgaria.

Special prizes are also awarded for images processed by entrants using pre-existing open-source data for the Annie Maunder Prize for Image Innovation. The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer will also be awarded to a new talent in the world of astronomical photography, who has taken up the hobby in the last year and has not entered into the competition before.

“The winners of the competition’s nine categories, two special prizes and the overall winner will be announced at a special online award ceremony on Thursday 15 September,” said a competition organiser.

“The winning images will be displayed in an exhibition at the National Maritime Museum from Saturday 17 September, alongside a selection of exceptional shortlisted images.”

The overall winner will receive £10,000 with the winners of each category receiving a handsome £1,500. Runners-up will receive £500 for their efforts and special commendations will receive £250.

“The Starry Sky Over the World’s Highest National Highway” by Yang Sutie. The illuminated National Highway 219, the highest national highway in the world, snakes through the foreground, almost mirroring the majestic image of the Milky Way above. The two are separated by Kula Kangri, a mountain located in Shannan Prefecture, Tibet.

All winners will receive a one-year subscription to BBC Sky at Night Magazine and will have their photographs exhibited in the National Maritime Museum next to a selection of shortlisted images.

The winners will of the 14th Astronomy Photographer of the Year will be announced September 15th 2022, with an exhibition opening on the 17th of September.

To view all the shortlisted images visit www.rmg.co.uk/shortlist