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The Winners of the Astronomy Photo Contest are Amazing

 When we think about nature photography, we typically think of animals and landscapes, and perhaps a rare underwater picture, but most of nature isn’t on the ground or even in the sea, but above us. The heavens are full of majesty and beauty that is truly humbling in its scope. The Insight Investment Astronomy Photograph of the Year competition aims to give us a glimpse of this often-overlooked celestial beauty.
Held by the Royal Museums Greenwich, the competition has several different categories, including “skyscapes”, people and space, aurorae, stars and nebulae, and more. These are some of this year’s most noteworthy contestants.
1. “Embrace of the Mountains, Heart of the Universe”
2. This nebula, an interstellar cloud of dust and gasses, is called the "Statue of Liberty Nebula" because the silhouette within looks like Lady Liberty holding her torch aloft. Can you see it?
3. The arch of the Milky Way above Deadvlei, Namibia
4. Aurorae are often wrongly referred to as “northern lights”, but this amazing celestial phenomenon occurs in both Polar Regions. This picture is of aurora australis or, the southern lights
Astronomy pictures: southern lightsSource: James Stone
5. This fuzzy picture is not that of a shag carpet or a dog’s fur, this is the burning surface of our very own sun
6. You probably know the Orion constellation and can point it out in the night sky. The famed belt of Orion is also the spot of one of the brightest nebulae we know of
7. This amazing celestial eye is the Helix Nebula. The picture’s author calls it “Deep in the Heart of Mordor” alluding to the ever-watchful eye of the dark Lord of the Rings
8. This nebula is sometimes called the “Devil’s Head.” Can you see the horns and glinting eyes?
9. The majesty of His creation
Astronomy pictures: church skySource: Ekant Veer
10. Aurora borealis over Goðafoss, Iceland
Astronomy pictures: aurora icelandSource: Sutie Yang
11. “Humans and the Nature”
Astronomy pictures: bridge star trajectorySource: Gu Fei
12. A solar flare caught by camera
13. The artist calls this “Flower Power”. This amazing cloud was formed from a rocket’s exhaust gas
14. This beautiful swirling shape is at the heart of Melotte 15, the “Heart Nebula” in Cassiopeia. Because of this, the photographers call this picture “The Heart of the Heart”
15. Aurora appearing as a dove with wings outstretched
16. The Milky Way over the desert
Astronomy pictures: milky way desertSource: Jay Evans
17. This is the Running Man Nebula, also in the Orion constellation
Astronomy pictures: running man nebulaSource: Steven Mohr
18. Absolutely breathtaking!
19. Can you see the phoenix rising from the flames?
Astronomy pictures: phoenix auroraSource: Wang Zheng
20. A mirror image
Astronomy pictures: reflectionSource: Marc Toso
21. This one is very aptly captioned “Galactic Lighthouse”
22. I see a male dancer here, what do you see?
Astronomy pictures: male dancerSource: Zhijun Yan
23. This is perhaps the most enigmatic and beautiful of them all
24. This is nicknamed the “Giant Cosmic Squid Nebula”, can you see the resemblance?
25. “The Watcher”
26. “Across the Sky of History”
Astronomy pictures: gnarled trees cometSource: Wang Zheng
27. A view from Wonderland
Astronomy pictures: aurora caveSource: Sutie Yang
28. A marriage of human creativity, nature, and space
Astronomy pictures: milky way over trees and lightsSource: Jay Evans
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