Categories: Astrophotos

Who Will Be the Next Astronomy Photographer of the Year?


Attention all astrophotographers (as well as those of us who just enjoy looking at great astronomy images!): The Royal Observatory Greenwich is launching its annual Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, and is searching for the most beautiful, dramatic and spectacular images of the cosmos. Anyone from around the world can enter and the winning images will be showcased at the Royal Observatory.

This is the 4th year of this competition, which began as part of the International Year of Astronomy in 2009.

“Astronomy is becoming increasingly popular with the public which is reflected in the big rise in entries we saw in 2011,” said Dr. Marek Kukula, Public Astronomer at the ROG. “Every year the competition has brought new surprises, I love the fact that we receive entries from people all around the world and from complete beginners as well as seasoned experts. All the judges are excited about what we’re going to see this time around.”

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012 has four main categories:

Earth and Space – Photographs that include landscape, people and other earth-related things alongside an astronomical subject ranging from the stars, the Moon or near-Earth phenomena such as the aurora.

Jupiter with Io and Ganymede, September 2010 © Damian Peach, winner of the 2011 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

Our Solar System – Imagery which captures the Sun and its family of planets, moons, asteroids and comets.

Deep Space – Pictures that capture anything beyond the Solar System, including stars, nebulae and galaxies.

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

Lunar Eclipse and Occultation © Jathin Premjith, winner of 2011 Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year

There are also three special prizes:

People and Space recognizes the best photo featuring people in the shot;

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;

Robotic Scope, which was a new prize introduced in 2011, is awarded for 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 midday on June 29, 2012, with the winners announced on September 20, 2012. The winning photos will be displayed at the ROG from September 21, 2012 to February 2013.

The overall winner will receive £1,500. Category winners will receive £500. There are also prizes for runners-up (£250) and highly commended (£125) entries. The Special Prize winners will receive £350, with an £125 prize for the People and Space Special Prize runner-up. All of the winning entries will receive a one year subscription to Sky at Night Magazine, which is also a sponsor of the competition.

The competition is powered by the photo-sharing website Flickr. To view the entries online please visit

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

Good luck, and we hope to be posting YOUR winning image here on Universe Today!!

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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