Now in its sixth year, the annual Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest showcases some of the most spectacular images ever photographed from within our solar system, all the way into outer space.
Each year the competition continues to grow exponentialy and this year was no exception with a record 2,500+ entries received from 51 countries across the globe. For the first time ever a photograph was even taken from the edge of space showing the curvature of the Earth, while other jaw-dropping photos received included pictures of the Milky Way, incredible swirls of gas on the surface of the sun, the Horsehead Nebula and a total solar eclipse.
The competition is judged by representatives from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England, and offers awards in four main categories, including Earth and Space, Our Solar System, Deep Space, and Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year, with a number of Special prizes categories also on offer. At the end an overall winner is named, and picking up the title of 2014 Astronomy Photographer of the Year, as well as the £1,500 first place prize, was British Photographer James Woodend for his image of the northern lights over a glacier lagoon in Iceland’s Vatnajokull Park,
Commenting on this year’s winning picture, competition judge and Royal Observatory Public Astronomer Marek Kukula, said: “I love the combination of whites and blue in the glacier with the chilly green of the aurora in this wonderfully icy picture. We’ve had some amazing aurora pictures in the competition over the last six years, but this is the first time a photo of the northern lights has actually won the Astronomy Photographer of the Year prize. We were all completely in awe of the colors and symmetry of James’ shot.”