Tilt-Shift Photo Of Andromeda Galaxy Wins Astronomy Photograph Of The Year 2020

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Tilt-Shift Photo Of Andromeda Galaxy Wins The Astronomy Photograph Of The Year 2020

The 2020 winners of the prestigious Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards have been announced by The Royal Observatory Greenwich. The winners were split into different categories covering a range of cosmological topics. These were 'Aurorae', 'The Moon', 'The Sun', 'People And Space', 'Planets, Comets And Asteroids', 'Skyscapes' and 'Stars and Nebulae' (plus separate prizes for newcomers and young photographers).

The overall winner though was Nicolas Lefaudeux, from France, who bagged the prize for his photograph titled 'Andromeda Galaxy at Arm's Length?' . The image shows a titling Andromeda Galaxy in all its majesty. Andromeda is the Galaxy closest to our own Milky Way, approximately 2.5 million light years away.

The image was shot using a Sky-Watcher Black Diamond 100 mm apochromatic refractor telescope at f/9, Sony a7S camera (modified), ISO 2000, 2 hours 30 minutes total exposure.

Andromeda Galaxy at Arm’s Length?Tilt-Shift Photo Of Andromeda Galaxy Wins The Astronomy Photograph Of The Year 2020

© Nicolas Lefaudeux | 2020 Astronomy Photographer of the Year

The caption submitted with the photograph reads:

Have you ever dreamt of touching a galaxy? This version of the Andromeda Galaxy seems to be at arm's length among clouds of stars. Unfortunately, this is just an illusion, as the galaxy is still 2 million light years away. In order to obtain the tilt-shift effect, the photographer 3D-printed a part to hold the camera at an angle at the focus of the telescope. The blur created by the defocus at the edges of the sensor gives this illusion of closeness to Andromeda.

Contest judge, Ed Robinson, said of the amazing photograph:

"To most of us, our closest neighbouring galaxy Andromeda can also feel so distanced and out of reach. Yet to create a photograph that gives us the impression that it is just within our physical reach is truly magical, and somewhat appropriate as we adjust after such socially distanced times."

Lefadeux for his efforts received a £10,000 first prize while the other contestants received smaller prizes.

The winners in the other categories are:

Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year

The Four Planets and the MoonTilt-Shift Photo Of Andromeda Galaxy Wins The Astronomy Photograph Of The Year 2020

© Alice Fock Hang | 2020 Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Caption: Photographing a planetary alignment requires rigor and patience but also a lot of luck. That evening, despite preparing everything for a week, the photographer encountered clouds. The magic started after sunset, where the moonset, Venus, Mercury, the star Antares, Jupiter and Saturn could be seen over the Indian Ocean. By looking at the sky map, The photographer could see that Pluto was there also above Saturn but invisible in my image. Note also the presence of Alpha Centuari on the left of the image as well as our immense galaxy, the Milky Way.

Gear and Settings: Nikon D610 camera, 35mm f/3.2 lens, ISO 3200, 18 x 13-second exposures

Aurorae

The Green LadyTilt-Shift Photo Of Andromeda Galaxy Wins The Astronomy Photograph Of The Year 2020

© Nicholas Roemmelt | 2020 Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Caption: The photographer had heard a lot of stories about the 'lady in green'. Although he has had the chance to photograph the Northern Lights many times, he had never seen the 'green lady' before. On a journey to Norway, she unexpectedly appeared with her magical green clothes making the whole sky burn with green, blue and pink colours.

Gear and Settings: Canon EOS R camera, 14mm f/1.8 lens, ISO 6400, 4 x 1.6-second exposures.

Our Moon

Tycho Crater Region with ColoursTilt-Shift Photo Of Andromeda Galaxy Wins The Astronomy Photograph Of The Year 2020

© Alain Paillou | 2020 Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Caption: The Tycho crater is one of the most famous craters on the Moon. This huge impact has left very impressive scars on the Moon's surface. With the colours of the soils, Tycho is even more impressive. This picture combines one session with a black-and-white camera, to capture the details and sharpness, and one session with a colour camera, to capture the colours of the soils. These colours come mainly from metallic oxides in small balls of glass and can give useful information about the Moon's geology and history. The blue shows a high titanium oxide concentration and the red shows high iron oxide concentration. This picture reveals the incredible beauty and complexity of our natural satellite.

Gear and Settings: Ceslestron C9.25 telescope at f/10 and f/6.3, Orion Sirius EQ-G mount, ZWO ASI178MM and ASI178MC cameras, multiple 15-millisecond exposures

Our Sun

Liquid SunshineTilt-Shift Photo Of Andromeda Galaxy Wins The Astronomy Photograph Of The Year 2020

© Alexandra Hart | 2020 Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Caption: Solar minimum may be seen as a quiet Sun and deemed dull in white light, but if you look closely at the small-scale structure, the surface is alive with motion. This surface is about 100 kilometres thick and the ever-boiling motion of these convection cells circulate, lasting for around 15 to 20 minutes. They are around 1,000 kilometres in size and create a beautiful 'crazy paving' structure for us to enjoy.

Gear and Settings: Celestron C11 XLT Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope at f/50, Baader Solar Continuum Filter with ND3.8 AstroSolar Film, Sky-Watcher EQ6 Pro mount, ZWO-ASI174MM camera, 8.431-millisecond exposure

People and Space

The Prison of TechnologyTilt-Shift Photo Of Andromeda Galaxy Wins The Astronomy Photograph Of The Year 2020

© Rafael Schmall | 2020 Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Caption: The star in the centre of the image is the Albireo double star, surrounded by the trails of moving satellites. How many more might there be by the time we reach next year's competition? There could be thousands of moving dots in the sky. In order to create astrophotos, photographers have to carefully plan where to place the telescope, and this will be more difficult in the future with more satellites in the way.

Gear and Settings: Sky-Watcher Quattro 200/800 astrograph telescope (modified) at f/4, Sky-Watcher EQ6-Pro GOTO mount, Canon EOS 6D camera, ISO 1600, 5 x 150-second exposures

Planets, Comets and Asteroids

Space Between US…Tilt-Shift Photo Of Andromeda Galaxy Wins The Astronomy Photograph Of The Year 2020

© Łukasz Sujka | 2020 Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Caption: This image shows the really close alignment of the Moon and Jupiter that happened on 31 October 2019. In the full resolution picture, you'll see that there are three of Jupiter's moons also visible. This small project is a big challenge that involves a lot of luck and good seeing conditions. To capture this phenomenon in such a big scale was quite demanding in data acquisition as Jupiter and the Moon travelled across the sky quite fast. It happened in altitude only 9 degrees above the horizon. I wanted to show the huge emptiness and the size of space, which is why there is a lot of 'nothing' between the two major parts of the image.

Gear and Settings: Sky-Watcher Newtonian 10″ telescope at f/4.8, Baader MPCC Coma Corrector filter, Sky Watcher NEQ-6 mount, ZWO ASI178 MM-C camera, 300 x 10-millisecond exposures per channel

Skyscapes

Painting the SkyTilt-Shift Photo Of Andromeda Galaxy Wins The Astronomy Photograph Of The Year 2020

© Thomas Kast | 2020 Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Caption: The photographer was searching for clear skies in Finnish Lapland to capture the beauty of a polar night and couldn't believe his eyes when he saw what was waiting behind the clouds. Polar stratospheric clouds are something the photographer has been searching for many years and had seen only in photographs until that day. He took his camera onto a frozen river to get a good view and started to take photos. The clouds slowly changed their shape and colours. It was like watching someone painting, especially when the Sun was lower – it started to get a darker orange and the pink shades became stronger.

Gear and Settings: Nikon D850 camera, 120mm f/16 lens, ISO 64, 1/40-second exposure

Stars and Nebulae

Cosmic InfernoTilt-Shift Photo Of Andromeda Galaxy Wins The Astronomy Photograph Of The Year 2020

© Peter Ward | 2020 Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Caption: NGC 3576 is a well-known nebula in southern skies, but is shown here without any stars. Software reveals just the nebula, which has been mapped into a false colour palette. The scene takes on the look of a celestial fire-maelstrom. The image is intended to reflect media images taken in Australia during 2019 and 2020, where massive bushfires caused the destruction of native forests and have claimed over 12 million acres of land. It shows nature can act on vast scales and serves as a stark warning that our planet needs nurturing.

Gear and Settings: Alluna Optics RC-16 telescope at f/8, 5nm Ha filter, Paramount ME II mount, SBIG STX-16803 camera, 32 x 10-minute exposures

Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer

WavesTilt-Shift Photo Of Andromeda Galaxy Wins The Astronomy Photograph Of The Year 2020

© Bence Toth | 2020 Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Caption: The image shows the central region of the California Nebula (NGC 1499). It tries to show the uncontrollable vast energy of nature, in a form which resembles the huge waves of a storm in the ocean. The RGB channels are used the create the colours of the stars, and all of the nebulosity are synthetized from the hydrogen-alpha and the SII channels. The colour assignment of the narrowband channels is done in a way to create an image close to true colour, but preserving the fine details and the depth provided by the narrowband filters.

Gear and Settings: Sky-Watcher Quattro 200P telescope at f/4, Sky-Watcher EQ6-R mount, ZWO ASI1600MM Pro camera, RGB-Ha-SII composite, 7 hours 50 minutes total exposure

Annie Maunder Prize for Imaging Innovation

Infrared SaturnTilt-Shift Photo Of Andromeda Galaxy Wins The Astronomy Photograph Of The Year 2020

© Julie F Hill | 2020 Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Caption: Dark River is a sculptural work that maps, or mirrors, the Milky Way celestial entity using one of the largest images ever made of its central areas. Referencing Elizabeth Kesseler's notion of the astronomical sublime, as well as Gaston Bachelard's idea of 'intimate immensity', this gigapixel image of the Milky Way, showing around 84 million stars, is reworked into a sculptural 'affective space' that affords a bodily and imaginative engagement with the viewer. The image was obtained with the VISTA survey telescope at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile and contains nearly nine billion pixels. This was an incredibly large file to work so the artist had to cut it down into manageable pieces to then print. She made 2.2 x 1 metre sections, which she then laboriously printed and glued together by hand to create a 9 x 5 metre sheet when flat.

Gear and Settings: VISTA Survey Telescope, Infrared J 1.25μm, Infrared H 1.65μm, Infrared 2.15μm channels, ESO/VVV Survey/D. Minniti Acknowledgement: Ignacio Toledo, Martin Kornmesser

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Thinking Humanity: Tilt-Shift Photo Of Andromeda Galaxy Wins Astronomy Photograph Of The Year 2020
Tilt-Shift Photo Of Andromeda Galaxy Wins Astronomy Photograph Of The Year 2020
The 2020 winners of the prestigious Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards have been announced by The Royal Observatory Greenwich.
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