Astronomy 2019

Shortlisted entries in the Astronomy category from the 2019 Royal Society Publishing Photography Competition.

Lunar halo over the night forest lake.

Astronomy Winner 'Halo' by Mikhail Kapychka. 'Lunar halo over the night forest lake, Mogilev,Belarus. I suddenly saw an unusual lunar halo in the night sky and hurried outside the city into the forest to take a picture of it. A halo appears in the sky when several factors are combined. Often it is observed in frosty weather in conditions of high humidity. In the air at the same time there is a large number of ice crystals. Passing through them, the lunar or solar light is refracted in a special way, forming an arc around the moon or sun. Processing: Colour correction, exposure, brightness, curves. Camera: Canon 5d mark2, canon 16-35mm 2.8, f/4.5, iso-800, 30s.'

The Milky Way sprawled over a mountaintop.

Astronomy Runner up 'Taranaki Stars' by James Orr. 'This is an image of the Milky Way and the two Magellanic Clouds above Mount Taranki, a 2500m active stratovolcano, on New Zealand's North Island. The two Magellanic Clouds are dwarf galaxies over 150,000 light years away that can only be seen in the Southern Hemisphere's night sky. After a tough hike up to this viewpoint, we spent a good eight hours watching the clouds thin, the sun set and the Milky Way appear. By midnight, the sky was full of stars but a sliver of moon was just bright enough to light up the incredible landscape in front of us. Just before we started the hike back down, I took this vertical panorama made up of four 25-second exposures. They were stitched together during post-processing. Camera: Canon 70D. Lens: Tokina 11-16 f2.8.'

The moon siting over a snowy mountain.

Astronomy Honourable mention 'Equinox supermoon over the coast range' by Loren Merrill. 'A supermoon rises over the British Columbia Coast Range on the spring equinox this year (2019). The last time a supermoon coincided this closely with the spring equinox was 1905, and the next one won't be until 2144, so this celestial event was a real "once in a lifetime" moment. I photographed the moonrise from Quadra Island, British Columbia, Canada, looking out across the Georgia Strait. Image has been cropped, with noise reduction in the background, and some sharpening and adjustments to saturation, clarity, and highlights. Camera: Canon 7D Mark II. Picture was taken at 1/80th of a second, at 400mm, with an ISO of 640.'