Categories: Astrophotos

Stunning Astrophotos Reveal the Importance of Dark Skies

The World at Night’s (TWAN) annual Earth & Sky photography contest showcases the stunning beauty of the night sky while highlighting the challenges of keeping our skies free from light pollution. TWAN has now announced the winners of this year’s contest, and the winning photos are simply breathtaking. This year’s theme of “Dark Skies Importance,” were judged in two categories: “Beauty Of The Night Sky” and “Against The Lights,” said Babak Tafreshi, the founder and director of TWAN,” and the winners were selected from submissions by photographers in about 45 countries.”

The selected images were judged to be those most effective in impressing the public on both how important and delicate the starry sky is as an affecting part of our nature, and also how bad the problem of light pollution has become.

Tafreshi added that “the amazing number of eye-catching entries from across the world tells how public attention to night sky is growing as well as interest to sky photography and we are very pleased if TWAN has a role on this increasing awareness.”

The overall contest winner and first prize in the Beauty Of The Night Sky category is our lead image, taken by Stephane Vetter of France, for his March 2013 panoramic photo “Sky Above Godafoss” of aurora and the Milky Way over the “Waterfall of the Gods” in Iceland.

See more winners and more information about the contest below:

The first prize in Against The Lights category goes to Andreas Max Böckle of Austria for his photo “Under the Hood” taken from overlooking the city of Salzburg in a moonlit night:

Stars over Salzburg, Austria by Andreas Max Böckle, the first winner in Against the Lights category in TWAN 2013 Earth & Sky Photo Contest.

David Malin, one of the judges and a world-known pioneer in scientific astrophotography said, “The 685 entries the judges examined (more than twice than the 2012 judged images) represent some of the best TWAN-style photographs ever gathered together in one place… I feel privileged to have seen so many beautiful images in such a short time!”

Click on the images here to see larger versions. You can see all the winners (and the great prizes they won) at the TWAN website, and this video highlights the winning photos:

‘Crossed Destinies,’ the Milky Way of Reunion Island, Indian Ocean by Luc Perro from France is the 2nd place winner in the Beauty of the Night Sky category in the TWAN 2013 Earth & Sky Photo contest.
Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at and and Instagram at and

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