Astonishing sights from space captured in these prize-winning pictures

Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 11:16 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 11:16 am

French photographer Nicolas Lefaudeux has beaten thousands of amateur and professional photographers from around the globe to win the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s title of Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020.

As well as securing the £10,000 top prize, his image takes pride of place in the exhibition of winning photographs opening at the National Maritime Museum on October 23.

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The judges were captivated by Lefaudeux’s awe-inspiring image. Taken in Forges-les-Bains, Île-de-France, the photograph depicts a version of the Andromeda Galaxy seemingly at arm’s length.

Competition judge Ed Robinson said: “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“.

Andromeda Galaxy at Arm’s Length? by Nicolas Lefaudeux, the overall winner of this year’s contest

Winning images of the other categories and special prizes include the breath-taking Aurora Borealis above Hamn i Senja, Skaland, in Norway by Nicholas Roemmelt (Germany); the image taken by Łukasz Sujka (Poland) showcases the alignment of our moon and Jupiter, framed by three of Jupiter’s moons; a remarkable illustration of ‘The Prison of Technology’, the satellite trails between earth and the Albireo double star, which photographer Rafael Schmall (Hungary) managed to capture; and Best Newcomer Bence Toth’s stunning image of the central region of the California Nebula.

The captivating Dark River by Julie F Hill (UK) has been named as the inaugural winner of the Annie Maunder Prize for Image Innovation.

Painting the Sky, taken in Finnish Lapland by Thomas Kast, won the Skyscapes category

Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year is run by Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with Insight Investment and BBC Sky at Night Magazine. Now in its 12th year, the competition received over 5,000 entries from six continents.

The Misty Elephant’s Trunk by Min Xie was highly commended in the Stars and Nebulae category

The best of the photographs – winners, runners-up, highly commended and shortlisted – are showcased in the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, opening to the public from October 23.

This year’s winners and shortlisted entries and a selection of previous winners are published by Collins in the competition’s official book, available exclusively at Royal Museums Greenwich shops and online and on sale across all bookstores now, costing £25.