2017 Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year

2017 Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year

On September 14, 2017 the Royal Observatory Greenwich announced the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards. The Guardian writes of the awards, "Awe-inspiring views of the Universe were celebrated at the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2017 awards ceremony, held at the Royal Greenwich Observatory." The competition inspired entries from all over the globe and this is the first year entries included images of the furthest planet in our solar system and asteroids streaking through the images. Of the over 3,800 entries competing in the 9 categories an overall winner has been chosen and the images simply speak for themselves. 

"The Rho Ophiuchi Clouds" by Artem Mironov of Russia is the overall winner this year. Mironov took the winning image in Namibia near Gamsberg Mountain over three nights and with over 15 hours worth of imaging time. An impressive amount of work for a single albeit winning image. One of the judges of this years awards, Pete Lawrence, had this to say of the winning image:

This is a superb photograph and a deserved winner of its category and the competition. The photographer has produced a beautiful balance between the blue reflection nebula in the lower left and the red emission nebula in the upper right. A dark-looking dust cloud forces itself in front of them, dividing the scene in two. The image is superbly processed, with the stars sharp from edge to edge. The result is an image that has an elegant complexity to it — simply exquisite.

When Mironov was asked about his image and his photography, he explained how astrophotography inspires him.

The desire to see further and share what’s seen is my inspiration to capture deep space objects. In the days of film photography, it was difficult to understand where the emptiness of space ends. Astrophotography is like a way to be closer to infinity, which is of course an attraction. Time is also a factor, here on Earth I take pictures of what is happening in the moment but in the photographs I’m capturing the cosmos as it was millions of years ago.

You can check out this year's winners at the Royal Museum Greenwich website and let us know what is your favorite image from the awards.

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Mikkel Beiter's picture

I was lucky to take home the award in the Aurorae category :-)

JT Blenker's picture

Afternoon Mikkel, it's an incredible and very dramatic image with the cloud cover moving over the mountains and the Aurora shining above. Incredible and ethereal. Would you want to explain how you prepared to shoot the image and what were some things that you were prepared for as the weather was changing?

Mikkel Beiter's picture

Hi there! I'm glad you liked it and it's indeed a really dramatic capture! I didnt plan much. Spent 3 days hunting areas without clouds on Iceland for a chance to get some Aurora Borealis. On the 3rd day at Stokksnes we were lucky. So we run to the beach, just shooting.
I didnt expect the big clouds coming in from the mountains, but when they did a huge spike in the Aurora activity appeared over the clouds. I'm quite sure this spike made it possible to shine through the clouds.