Astronomy Photographer of the Year is one of the contests I always look forward to. It has just announced its 2021, and just as always – I’m definitely not disappointed. The winning image is a striking photo of the last year’s annular solar eclipse, but there are many more photos that will make your jaw drop. So, without further ado, let’s check them out!
Astronomy Photographer of the Year is run by Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with BBC Sky at Night Magazine. Now in its thirteenth year, the competition received over 4,500 entries from 75 countries around the world. Chinese photographer Shuchang Dong is this year’s overall winner with his image The Golden Ring. In addition, this photo earned him the winning title in the Our Sun category.
I love how simple, yet striking this image is. And I liked it even more when I read about how it was taken. On 21 June last year, there was an annular solar eclipse and the photographer made sure not to miss it. He decided to go to Ali in Tibet to shoot it because it has year-round sunny weather. But who would have predicted – there were dark clouds all over the sky during the eclipse. What a bummer, right? However, within a minute of the annular eclipse, the sunshine pierced through the clouds. Shuchang captured that moment, and the sun soon disappeared again. All’s well that ends well, I guess, and this definitely ended well for the Chinese photographer.
15-year-old Zhipu Wang, also from China, has won the top prize in the Young Competition category. He composed the Sun, the Moon, and the planets of the Solar System into a single image.
This year’s winners and shortlisted entries and a selection of previous winners will be published by Collins in the competition’s official book. It’s available for pre-order exclusively at Royal Museums Greenwich shops and online, but it will be on sale across all bookstores from 30 September for £25.
All winning and shortlisted images will be on display at National Maritime Museum from 18 September 2021 until 7 August 2022. You can find out more about the exhibition and the contest here, and if you’re considering submitting your photos for the 2022 contest, follow this link.
And now, for the best part: the winning images by categories. Enjoy them below, and check out photos from previous years too:
People and Space
Planets, Comets and Asteroids
Stars and Nebulae
Special Prize: The Manju Mehrotra Family Trust Prize for Best Newcomer
Paul Eckhardt (USA), Falcon 9 Soars Past the Moon (Winner)
Special Prize: Annie Maunder Prize for Image Innovation
Leonardo Di Maggio (UK), Celestial Fracture (Winner, joint)
Sergio Díaz Ruiz (Spain), Another Cloudy Day on Jupiter (Winner, joint)