The Royal Observatory Greenwich in the UK has shortlisted its nominees for its annual Insight Astronomer of the Year competition. From stunning aurora and shooting stars through to solar flares and distant nebulae, these images are guaranteed to astound.
This competition is now in its ninth year, and it only seems to be getting better. The shortlisted candidates (shown below) are some of the best astronomically-themed photos we’ve ever seen, and they showcase a wide array of celestial phenomenon.
This year, over 3,800 professional and amateur photographers from 91 countries submitted their photos. Winners will be announced on September 14, 2017, at a special ceremony at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. The winning images will be displayed in a free-of-charge exhibition at the Observatory’s Astronomy Centre starting September 16th.
Crescent Moon Over the Needles, Ainsley Bennett (UK)
This glorious shot shows the seven percent waxing crescent Moon setting in the evening sky over the Needles Lighthouse at the western tip of the Isle of Wight. Despite the Moon being a thin crescent, the rest of its shape is defined by sunlight reflecting back from the Earth’s surface.
Aurora Over Svea, Agurtxane Concellon (Spain)
The purples and greens of the Northern Lights loom over the coal mining city of Svea, in the archipelago of Svalbard. The earthy landscape below the glittering sky is lit up by the industrial lights at the pier of Svea.
Eastern Prominence, Paul Andrew (UK)
A large, stellar prominence—a glowing cloud of gas extended in a magnetic field—reaches from the surface of the Sun during late August 2016. There are a number of different prominence types that have been observed emanating from the Sun, but this so-called “hedgerow” prominence resembles wild shrubbery.
Solar Trails Above the Telescope, Maciej Zapior (Poland)
This freaky shot was taken with a solargraphy pinhole camera. The image charts the movement of the Sun over the…