Cosmic Delights and Distant Discoveries Unfold in ‘Astronomy Photographer of the Year 15’

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Mehmet Ergün (Germany), “The Great Solar Flare,” highly commended in the “Our Sun” category. All images © the photographers, courtesy of Astronomy Photographer of the Year, shared with permission

In its 15th year, the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition (previously) welcomed more than 4,000 entries from photographers in 64 countries, who set their sights on the night skies. From solar flares to dancing auroras to distant galaxies, the winners of this year’s contest highlight the endless wonders of the cosmos and the astonishing technological advances that allow us to see lightyears away in unprecedented detail.

The overall winning image, “Andromeda, Unexpected,” was the result of a collaboration between astrophotographers Marcel Drechsler, Xavier Strottner, and Yann Sainty. The trio discovered an enormous plasma arc next to the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), spurring a transnational scientific collaboration to further investigate the phenomena.

We’ve shared a few favorites here, and you can see all shortlisted images in the contest’s online gallery. If you’re in London, you can visit the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich starting on September 16 to see more than 100 prints on display.


Andreas Ettl (Germany), “Circle of Light,” runner-up in the aurorae category

Marcel Drechsler (Germany), Xavier Strottner (France), and Yann Sainty (France), “Andromeda, Unexpected,” galaxies category winner and overall winner

Runwei Xu (China) and Binyu Wang (China), “The Running Chicken Nebula,” winner of the Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year award

Paul Montague (Australia), “Neighbours,” highly commended in the galaxies category

Katie McGuinness (U.K.), “Close Encounters of the Haslingden Kind,” highly commended in the “People and Space” category

Angel An (China), “Grand Cosmic Fireworks,” winner in the skyscapes category

Ethan Chappel (U.S.), “Mars-Set,” winner in the “Our Moon” category

Haohan Sun (China), “Moon at Nightfall,” highly commended in the Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year category

Peter Ward (Australia), “Dark Star,” runner-up in the “Our Sun” category

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