The winning photos of Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2018 contest are out of this world

Winners of the 2018 Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest have just been announced. This is the tenth year of the competition, and just like before, the winning images didn’t disappoint. The judges had a difficult task of selecting 31 out of 4,200 images from 91 countries. But the selected best of the best will take your breath away.

The 2018 Astronomy Photographer of the Year is run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, in association with Insight Investment and BBC Sky at Night Magazine. Professional photographers, as well as the amateurs, submitted their work, competing in nine categories:

  • People and Space
  • Aurorae
  • Galaxies
  • Our Moon
  • Our Sun
  • Planets, Comets and Asteroids
  • Skyscapes
  • Stars and nebulae
  • Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Additionally, there are two special prizes: The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer and the Robotic Scope prize.

American photographer Brad Goldpaint was selected as the overall winner for his photo titled “Transport the Soul.” He received the main prize of £10,000 (around $13,000) for his stunning photo, while the winners of subcategories won £1,500 (around $1,950).

Dr. Melanie Vandenbrouck, Curator of Art at Royal Museums Greenwich and judge for the competition, said that picking just 31 winners from the 134 shortlisted images was “fiendishly difficult:”

“With a competition that keeps on flourishing over the years, the growing community of amateur astrophotographers have time after time surprised us with technically accomplished, playfully imaginative and astoundingly beautiful images that sit at the intersection of art and science. This year did not disappoint. Their mesmerising, often astonishing photographs, show us the exquisite complexity of space, and movingly convey our place in the universe. And to see our young winners compete with seasoned photographers in their skill, imagination, and aesthetic sense, remains the greatest reward of all.”

The winning photos will be exhibited in the National Maritime Museum from 24 October 2018, so don’t miss it if you’re in London. But for all of you living far (like I do), here are the winning images from all categories. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them!

People and Space

© Brad Goldpaint (USA) – Transport the Soul
Category winner and overall winner
Nikon D810 camera, 14 mm f/4.0 lens, ISO 2500, 20-second exposure

© Andrew Whyte (UK) – Living Space
Sony ILCE-7S camera, 28-mm f/2 lens, ISO 6400, 15-second exposure

© Mark McNeill (UK) – Me versus the Galaxy
Highly commended
Nikon D810 camera, 20-mm f/1.4 lens, ISO 5000, 10-second exposure


© Nicolas Lefaudeux (France) – Speeding on the Aurora lane
Sony ILCE-7S2 camera, 20-mm f/1.4 lens, ISO 2000, 3.2-second exposure

© Matthew James Turner (UK) – Castlerigg Stone Circle
Sony ILCE-7R camera, 22-mm f/4 lens, ISO 1000, 30-second exposure

© Mikkel Beiter (Denmark) – Aurorascape
Highly commended
Canon EOS 5DS R camera, 17-mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 2000, 8-second exposure


© Steven Mohr (Australia) – NGC 3521, Mysterious Galaxy
Planewave CDK 12.5 telescope, Astrodon Gen II LRGB, Baarder H lens at 2541 mm f/8, Astro Physics 900 mount, SBIG STXL-11000 camera, Luminance: 33 x 1200 seconds [11hrs], H: 12 x 1200 seconds [4hrs], Red-Green-Blue: 450 x 12–18 seconds

© Raul Villaverde Fraile (Spain) – From Mirach
Takahashi FSQ 106ED telescope, Idas lps 2-inch lens, SkyWatcher Nq6pro mount, Canon 6D camera, 414-mm f/3.9 lens, ISO 1600, 24x30x400″ exposure

© César Blanco (Spain) – Fireworks Galaxy NGC 6939
Highly commended
Takahashi FSQ 106 ED telescope, LRGB Baader filters, ORION ATLAS EQ-G mount, QSI 583ws camera, 530-mm f/5 lens, 36 hours 30 mins exposure

Our Moon

© Jordi Delpeix Borrell (Spain) – Inverted Colours of the boundary between Mare Serenitatis and Mare Tranquilitatis
Celestron 14 telescope, Sky-Watcher NEQ6 Pro mount, ZWO ASI 224MC camera, 4,200-mm f/12 lens, multiple 20ms exposures

© Peter Ward (Australia) – Earth Shine
Takahashi FSQ85 telescope, Losmandy Starlapse mount, Canon 5D Mark IV camera, 500-mm f/5 lens, 9 exposures ranging from ISO 100 to 900, 150 2-seconds through to 1/4000th second exposures

© László Francsics (Hungary) – From the Dark Side
Highly commended
Homemade 250-mm f/4 Carbon Newton telescope, f/11, 250/1000 mirror lens, Skywatcher EQ6 mount, ZWO ASI 174 MM camera, 6250 mm f/4 lens increased to f/11, multiple 1/200-second exposures

Our Sun

© Nicolas Lefaudeux (France) – Sun King, Little King, and God of War
AF-S NIKKOR 105-mm f/1.4E ED lens, Nikon D810 camera on an untracked tripod, 105 mm f/1.4 lens, ISO 64, multiple exposures of 0.3-second, 0.6-second and 1.3-second

© Stuart Green (UK) – Coloured Eruptive Prominence
Home-built telescope based on iStar Optical 150mm f/10 lens, double stacked hydrogen-alpha filter at 5250 mm, Sky-Watcher EQ6 Pro mount, Basler acA1920-155um camera, 150-mm f/35 lens, multiple 0.006-second exposures as an AVI

© Haiyang Zong (China) – AR2673
Highly commended
Sky-Watcher DOB10 GOTO telescope, Optolong R Filter, QHY5III290M camera, 3,600-mm f/4.7 lens, ISO 160, 0.7ms exposure

Planets, Comets and Asteroids

© Martin Lewis (UK) – The Grace of Venus
Home-built 444-mm Dobsonian reflecting telescope, Astronomik 807nm IR filter, Home-built Equatorial tracking platform, ZWO ASI174MM camera, 12.4-m f/28 lens, 6msec frame time, 5.3sec total exposure duration

© Martin Lewis (UK) – Parade of the Planets
Home-built 444-mm Dobsonian Newtonian reflector telescope (Mercury used 222-mm Dobsonian), various IR filters for Uranus, Neptune, Mercury, Saturn (L). UV filter for Venus, home-built Equatorial Platform, ZWO ASI174MC/ASI174MM/ ASI290MM camera, various focal lengths f/12 to f/36, various exposures

© Gerald Rhemann (Austria) – Comet C/2016 R2 Panstarrs the blue carbon monoxide comet
Highly commended
ASA 12-inch (300 mm) Astrograph telescope at f/3.62, ASA DDM 85 telescope mount, ASI ZWO 1600 MC colour CCD camera, exposure: RGB composite, 4.6-hours total exposure


© Ferenc Szémár (Hungary) – Circumpolar
Minolta 80–200 f/2.8 telescope, tripod, Sony SLT-A99V camera, 135-mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 640, 50 x 300-second exposures

© Chuanjin Su (China) – Eclipsed Moon Trail
Sony ILCE-7RM2 camera, 17-mm f/4 lens, ISO 100, 950 x 15-seconds

© Ruslan Merzlyakov (Latvia) – Midnight Glow over Limfjord
Highly commended
Canon EOS 6D camera, 14-mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 400, 10-second exposure

Stars and nebulae

© Mario Cogo (Italy) – Corona Australis Dust Complex
Takahashi FSQ 106 ED telescope, Astro-Physics 1200 GTO mount, Canon EOS 6D Cooling CDS Mod camera, 530-mm f/5 lens, ISO 1600, total 6-hours exposure

© Mario Cogo (Italy) – Rigel and the Witch Head Nebula
Takahashi FSQ 106 ED telescope, Astro-Physics 1200 GTO mount, Canon EOS 6D Cooling CDS Mod camera, 383-mm f/3.6 lens, ISO 1600, 1, 3 and 6 min, total 5 Hours exposure

© Rolf Wahl Olsen (Denmark) – Thackeray’s Globules in Narrowband Colour
Highly commended
Homebuilt 12.5-inch f/4 Serrurier Truss Newtonian telescope, Losmandy G-11 mount, QSI 683wsg-8 camera, 1,450-mm 12.5” f/4 lens, 14 hours and 40 minute exposure

Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year

© Fabian Dalpiaz (Italy – aged 15) – Great Autumn Morning
Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera, 50-mm panorama f/2.0 lens, ISO 6400, 8-second exposure

© Logan Nicholson (Australia – aged 13) – The Eta Carinae Nebula
Takahashi MT-160 telescope, f/4.8 reducer for MT-160, Celestron CGEM mount, Canon EOS 700D camera, 776-mm f/4.8 lens, ISO 800, 12 x 5 minute exposures

© Thea Hutchinson (UK – aged 11) – Inverted Sun
Highly commended
Lunt LS60 telescope, Celestron CGE Pro mount, ZWO ASI174MM camera, 1250 (500-mm with x2.5 Powermate) f/21 (f/8.3 x 2.5) lens, 2000 frames best 20% retained

© Casper Kentish (UK – aged 8) – First Impressions
Highly commended
SkyWatcher Skyliner 200 p, SkyWatcher 25mm wide angle, Dobsonian mount, Apple iPad 5th generation, 3.3-mm f/2.4 lens, ISO 250, 1/17-second exposure

© Davy van der Hoeven (Netherlands – aged 10) – A Valley on the Moon…
Highly commended
Celestron C11 Schmidt Cassegrain telescope, Baader red filter, SkyWatcher NEQ6 mount, Imaging Resource DMK21 camera, 2,700-mm f/10 lens, 1/300-second exposure

Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer

© Tianhong Li (China) – Galaxy Curtain Call Performance
Nikon D810A camera, 35-mm f/2 lens; sky: ISO 1250, 16 x 60-second exposures, total 16 pictures; ground: ISO 640, 4 x 120-second exposures, total 4 pictures

Robotic scope

© Damian Peach (UK) – Two Comets with the Pleiades
Takahashi FSQ106 telescope at 106 mm, Paramount ME mount, SBIG STL-11000M camera, 530-mm f/5 lens, exposure: four LRGB frames, each frame 30 minutes each

from -Hacking Photography, One Picture At A Time