The shortlist for 2021 Astronomical photographer of the year was unveiled by Royal Museums Greenwich. From the radiant lunar halos in Sweden to the Californian nebulae, this year’s selection is more dazzling than ever.
The competition, now in its 13th year, is widely regarded as the premier astrophotography competition in the world.
Ordered by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with BBC Sky at Night Magazine and with 4,500 entries covering 75 countries, making the shortlist is a prestigious feat.
Although confined to the great interiors, we took the time to look at the vast and magical images of our solar system. Here’s a look at some of our shortlisted favorites:
The shortlist of astronomy photographer of the year
Captured initially in black and white, then processed partially upside down, the vividness of the image marked an impressive start to the new solar cycle.
This photograph, taken in Valensole, France, is aptly called Harmony. Liebermann’s work shows a sparkling Milky Way low in the sky above a lavender field.
After a month of waiting for perfect conditions, the photographer captured this incandescent wonder in just a small window of an hour and a half.
Markus van Hauten
Taken both from inside and outside this Icelandic icy cave, this image of the Northern Lights from this icy formation was a long-standing ambition for the photographer.
Lit by the orange glow of light pollution from nearby homes and a passing vehicle, a moment every 6,800 years has been beautifully captured at Stonehenge in the UK.
Separated by a row of Hui-style architecture, a pearly Milky Way is reflected on Lake Yuezhao in the ancient village of Hongcun, China. The famous Huangshan Mountain looms in the background.
The photographer’s choice of two-tone treatment shows a color romance between oxygen emissions and hydrogen-alpha.
This Icelandic vortex represents the Northern Lights at their best. Reflected on the estuary below, the bright sky was filmed first, then the photographer himself braved it on the ice. The result is a brilliant reflection of the vastness of the natural world.
Shot with a highly polluted view of Shanghai’s financial district, the sun can only be seen for a rare window of a few weeks each year. Taken using four different exposures, the photograph provides a rare glimpse of the magnificence of our sun above a bustling Lujiazui.
Here this natural Durdle Door rock formation in Lulworth, UK can be seen under a sparkling Milky Way umbrella. Saturn and Jupiter are hiding on the left periphery of the photograph.