Stunning Images At Astronomy Photographer Of The Year 2023

Winner and Overall Winner Andromeda, Unexpected © Marcel Drechsler, Xavier Strottner and Yann Sainty A team of amateur astronomers led by Marcel Drechsler, Xavier Strottner and Yann Sainty made a surprising discovery − a huge plasma arc next to the Andromeda Galaxy. Scientists are now investigating the newly discovered giant in a transnational collaboration. It could be the largest such structure in the nearby environment in the Universe.

Get star-struck at the annual exhibition of out-of-this-world photography.

OK, enough of the weak, predictable puns. Let’s let the images do the talking. And what images. The 15th annual Astronomy Photographer of Year awards, displayed at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, are as jaw-dropping as ever.

This year’s winner (top image) pictures an object very familiar to stargazers (and here the word “object” is doing some serious bench-presses): our neighbouring galaxy of Andromeda. But look bottom left. That’s a huge plasma arc, and possibly the largest structure in our local neighbourhood.

The intergalactic portrait sits alongside many other stunning shots at the NMM’s annual exhibition. A few other highlights are included below.

The Great Solar Flare © Mehmet Ergün The Sun photographed moving towards its maximum cycle. A large solar flare around 700,000 km long erupts to the left of the image.
Mars-Set © Ethan Chappel An occultation of Mars that took place on 8 December 2022. During the occultation, the Moon passes in front of the planet Mars, allowing the astrophotographer to capture both objects together. The image shows Mars behind the Moon’s southern side in impressive detail.
Celestial Equator Above First World War Trench Memorial © Louis Leroux-Gere. Star trails above the preserved First World War trenches in Canadian National Vimy Memorial Park, Northern France. Taken over five hours, the camera captured the rotation of the sky, revealing the colourful stars.
A Visit to Tycho © Andrew McCarthy. In this photo, the International Space Station (ISS) has been captured in alignment with the Tycho Crater. While actually 1,000 times closer to Earth than the Moon, this perspective makes it seem like the ISS is in fact orbiting our natural satellite. McCarthy travelled to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, USA, to find the perfect position.
Best Newcomer: Sh2-132: Blinded by the Light © Aaron Wilhelm. The Sh2-132 complex lies near the border of the Cepheus and Lacerta constellations and contains multiple deep sky structures. The photograph includes 70 hours of data, the rich interplay of all the gasses reveals something different each time you look at it.
Circle of Light © Andreas Ettl. A stunning photograph of a vivid aurora over Skagsanden beach, Lofoten Islands, Norway. The mountain in the background is Hustinden, which the aurora appears to encircle.

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2023 is at the National Maritime Museum (not the observatory!) from 16 September 2023 until some time next year. The wider museum is free, but entrance to the exhibition requires a paid ticket.

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