An otherworldly photograph of a solar eclipse took first prize in this year’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.
The coveted award is awarded by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in England. Winning photographer Shuchang Dong of China captured the shot during an annular solar eclipse of Tibet’s Ali region on June 21, 2020. Titled, “The Golden Ring,” the photograph looks like this: a circle of light against a dark and moody sky.
“You feel like you can reach for the sky and put this on your finger,” Judge Steve Marsh said in a statement.
Related: See Photos of All Astrophotography Winners
More: Astrophotography for Beginners: How to Photograph the Night Sky
This is the thirteenth year of the astronomical photography contest. Winners receive a cash prize and their photographs are displayed at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Dong’s “The Golden Ring” also took first place in the competition’s “Our Sun” category. Other recognized photographs in the category show the details of the sun’s surface and the outer atmosphere.
The winners of the contest come from all over the world. Nicolas Lefaudeux from France took home first prize in the “Our Moon” category, who captured an image of a crescent-shaped Venus rising above Earth’s moon. Third Officer Dmitrii Rybalka won first place in the “Aurorae” category for a glorious green photo of the Northern Lights he took from the bridge of a ship near Russia’s Kara Strait. UK’s Deepal Ratnayaka won the ‘People and Space’ category for a dreamy shot of a child against Star Trails during a COVID-19 lockdown.
(Image credit: Deepal Ratnayaka / Astronomy Photographer of the Year 13)
The winners enjoyed their astronomical views from very different points of view. For “The Milky Ring,” a 360-degree view of the Milky Way that won the “Galaxies” category, Chinese photographer Zhong Wu pieced together images taken in Sichuan and Qinghai, China, and Lake Pukaki, New Zealand. The “Skyscapes” winner shows the moonrise over Death Valley National Park, an image that required American photographer Jeffrey Lovelace to walk on sand dunes after sunset.
Some shots required the photographers to be in exactly the right place at the exact time: The winner of “Planets, Comets and Asteroids” was taken by American photographer Frank Kuszaj, who was trying to photograph distant galaxies when a fireball from a Quadrantid meteorite passed his lens. . Others took days and days of imaging to create the final shot. The winner of the “Stars and Nebulae” category, American Terry Hancock, spent seven days photographing the California Nebula to put together his winning image of bright colors.
The “Youth” award was taken home by 15-year-old photographer 至 璞 王 from China, who photographed the planets of the solar system over the course of a year and stitched them into a “family photo.” Two other special awards were also awarded: the Manju Mehrotra Family Trust Award for Best Newcomer, which went to beginning astrophotographer Paul Eckhardt from the United States for his photography of the Falcon 9 rocket flying over the moon, and the Annie Maunder Image Award. Innovation, awarded to the best images created with publicly available data. That award was split between two winners: Leonardo Di Maggio from the UK, for his mosaic of images of Saturn from the Cassini mission; and Sergio Díaz Ruiz from Spain, for a colorful view of Jupiter’s clouds made from images from the Hubble telescope.
This year’s awards ceremony was virtual and took place on September 16. A video of the ceremony is available online.
Originally posted on Live Science