This spellbinding selection of images, which capture some of the remarkable sights from across the galaxy, are among the shortlisted entries for this year’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, organised by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in London.
Enter the New Scientist Photography Awards 2021 here.
Iceland’s aurora borealis is showcased in Iceland Vortex by Larryn Rae (pictured above), who can be seen at the centre of the image. Rae’s panoramic shot highlights the scale of this iconic light display, which is caused by charged particles from the sun colliding with atmospheric gases.
Anthony Sullivan’s Milky Way Rising Over Durdle Door shows the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site in Dorset, UK – famous for its bounty of ancient rocks and fossils – as illuminated by our galaxy, which aligns with the region a few months a year. The two bright spots towards the left of the image are Saturn and Jupiter.
Hassan Hatami merged thousands of shots of the sun taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory – a NASA spacecraft that has been studying our solar system’s star since 2010 – to create this spectacular image, The Tumult of the Sun.
Dolphin Head Nebula by Yovin Yahathugoda shows a giant interstellar cloud of gas and dust, clumped together by gravity, at the centre of the constellation Canis Major. Nebulae are sometimes called star nurseries since they can be where stars form.
The aurora borealis features again in The Cave, a composite image by Markus van Hauten, created by stacking together two separate shots of the northern lights and the cave, taken at the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier in Iceland.
The competition’s winning images will be announced on 16 September and will be exhibited at the National Maritime Museum in London from 18 September.
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