Rare spectacular comet wins top prize in astronomy photographer of the year
The winners of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2022 are known and as always spectacular. Austrian photographer Gerald Rhemann, chosen from over 3,000 entries from 67 countries, took home the top honor and the prize of £10,000 with his photo “Disconnection Event”.
The incredible image shows Comet Leonard’s gas tail disconnecting from the comet’s tail and being swept up by the solar wind. This special photo was taken in Namibia on Christmas Day in 2021. Comet Leonard was the brightest comet of 2021 but will no longer be visible from Earth. The first prize was unanimously awarded by the judges who were “blown away” by the image.
“When I first saw this image of Comet Leonard, I was blown away. This photo from a recent visitor to our solar system is captured so beautifully. The stars in the background give the comet’s tail a magical look. I could go to this staring image all day,” said Judge Melissa Brobby.
Two 14-year-old boys from China won the title for The Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year (below) by collaborating on their image “Andromeda Galaxy: The Neighbor”.
“I think this photo shows how wonderful our closest neighbor is,” said Yang Hanwen, while his collaborator Zhou Zezhen added: “One of the most important functions of astrophotography is to attract more people to fall in love with astronomy through the beauty of the Universe.”
The People and Space category was won by American photographer Andrew McCarthy with “The International Space Station Transiting Tranquility Base”.
Judge Imad Ahmed, director of the New Crescent Society said of the image: “The moon’s ancient rocky expanse serves as the perfect backdrop for the curious ISS. To me, this not only sums up our human fascination with the moon, but perhaps hints at a future where one day surfacing could finally be an opportunity open to all of us.”
People and Space: The International Space Station Transiting Tranquility Base winner. Image credit: © Andrew McCarthy
Other incredible winners and highly acclaimed entries included aurorae, nebulae, stars and much more.
Highly Acclaimed Aurorae: Winged Aurora. Image credit: © Akexander Stepanenko
What a flaming star! Image credit: © Martin Cohen
The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer was won by Lun Deng for their photo of the Milky Way rising over the highest peak in Sichuan China, Minya Konka Mountain, taken in February 2021.
Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer: The Milky Way Bridge over Great Snowy Mountains. Image credit: © Lun Deng
All of these spectacular photos and more will be on display in the exhibition at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, London, from September 17.