The Red Lake of Stars: Years ago, before over-fishing, Little Redfish Lake was called as such due to
… [+] the vast numbers of salmon turning the lake a red colour. The red colouration is no longer seen because of salmon, but the colour of sunsets and airglow during the night still turn the waters a vibrant red. It is these beautiful warm echoes of red, combined with the mirror-like reflections of the Sawtooth Mountains in the distance and the alignment of the Milky Way with the mountains that make Little Redfish Lake one of the most spectacular places the photographer has ever shot at night. The photographer recalls that âwe were fortunate enough that night to have the lakeshore to ourselves, just three of us, and a rather excited dog who tried his best not to run into our tripods! We spent the sunset here, waiting for the stars to come out and the Milky Way core to rise, marvelling at the red colour of the water.â
Earlier this week
I posted a selection of my favorites from a long list of shortlisted images from the newly-announced Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 from the Royal Observatory Greenwich, London.
I short-changed you. Although I tried my best to select the most intriguing and impressive images from each of the nine categories, there were just so many beautiful images that show-off my favorite night sky sights of all—the Milky Way and the aurora—that it deserves a second visit.
Besides, although “astrophotography” is growing as a hobby as cameras improve, that is a very wide category and includes many technical deep-sky close-ups using telescopes. For me, it’s all about “nightscapes” and astro-landscape photography; photos that showcase the night sky.
Since it’s now Milky Way-spotting season across the world (look to the south after midnight from a dark sky destination and you’ll see our galaxy arcing across the sky), here are all of the shortlisted images from the eye-catching
Skyscapes category … along with a sprinkling of other Milky Way and aurorae images from other categories.
Enjoy the celestial show!
Galactic Portal: On the photographer’s trip to Australia, he travelled to the coastal town of Kiama,
… [+] where he captured his first Milky Way image of the year – his first Milky Way image taken from the Southern Hemisphere. Once the sun set, the photographer made his way into the cave and waited for a few hours for the core of the Milky Way to appear. Being unfamiliar with the southern sky, the photographer was surprised to also see Jupiter appear soon after.
‘Beyond the Fog’
Beyond the Fog: the photographer had to wait, drenched on a rickety bridge until the thick fog had
… [+] cleared. He was rewarded with noctilucent clouds in the sky, the outlines of which were reflected in the mirror of the calm river. The photographer’s patience paid off as he caught the last outline of the departing mesospheric storm.
‘Cold Night on the Yellowstone’
Cold Night on the Yellowstone: In mid-March, shortly after the core of our galaxy is visible above
… [+] the horizon, it rises in the final hours of darkness before dawn. Shooting this panorama scene, while night-time fog hung low over riverside cottonwood trees and the distant mountains of the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness glowed from the light of countless stars, the photographer felt that he was able to capture a connectedness between this world and the one above – a hint of changing seasons, and a sense that Nature continues to provide countless wonders for all willing to stop and look.
‘The Cave of the Wild Horses’
The Cave of the Wild Horses: Located in the heart of the desert in Southern Utah, the Cave of the
… [+] Wild Horses, with its copious wildlife, petroglyphs, rock varnish, and framed view of the summer Milky Way in its entrance, makes for a fairy-tale place to take astrophotographs. This photograph is one of the most complicated that the photographer has taken to date due to the location of the cave and the number of foreground images taken. Getting to the cave involves a long hike through the desert, over sandstone plateaus, through brush and desert sand. Upon reaching the cave, the photographer decided that she wanted to take a large panorama in order to preserve the feeling of looking out of the cave to the sky beyond.
‘The Red Lake of Stars’
The Red Lake of Stars: Years ago, before over-fishing, Little Redfish Lake was called as such due to
… [+] the vast numbers of salmon turning the lake a red colour. The red colouration is no longer seen because of salmon, but the colour of sunsets and airglow during the night still turn the waters a vibrant red. It is these beautiful warm echoes of red, combined with the mirror-like reflections of the Sawtooth Mountains in the distance and the alignment of the Milky Way with the mountains that make Little Redfish Lake one of the most spectacular places the photographer has ever shot at night. The photographer recalls that ‘we were fortunate enough that night to have the lakeshore to ourselves, just three of us, and a rather excited dog who tried his best not to run into our tripods! We spent the sunset here, waiting for the stars to come out and the Milky Way core to rise, marvelling at the red colour of the water.’
‘Something Old, Something New’
Something Old, Something New: The incredible site of the old Lithgow Blast Furnace has been restored
… [+] as a heritage icon in the area reflecting on the past history of the beginnings of the iron and steel industries in Australia. With some prior planning, visiting at night provides the mesmerising opportunity to capture the Galactic Core in the Milky Way as it passes overhead.
People and Space
Stargazing Giant: this image is the view of the Milky Way rising above the Moai at Ahu Akivi. Ahu
… [+] Akivi is a particularly sacred place in Easter Island in the Valparaíso Region of Chile, looking out towards the South Pacific Ocean. The site has seven moai, all of equal shape and size, and is also known as a celestial observatory that was set up around the 16th century. The shot highlights the central bulge of the Milky Way, the constellation Scorpio, as well as the planets Jupiter and Saturn.
Meeting: After a long hike and a little bit of climbing to the top of the mountain, the photographer
… [+] was able to see the Milky Way. He only had five minutes time to take the panorama shot before the clouds moved. The photographer and his friend are pictured standing on the edge, looking out at the sky and over the city of Füssen in Germany.
‘Beautiful Persian Gulf Nights’
Beautiful Persian Gulf Nights: On one of the many hiking trails along Iran’s coastline, the
… [+] photographer discovered this incredible lookout. The scale of the vista encouraged the photographer to capture a 360 degree panoramic image of the entire sky using 60 15-second exposures. The movement of the clouds meant that the photographer had a short time to capture the Milky Way. The photographer is pictured, enjoying the wonderland he stumbled across.
Mohammad Sadegh Hayati
‘Milky Way and Meteor at Porthgwarra’
Milky Way and Meteor at Porthgwarra: Porthgwarra is a sheltered fishing cove in the west of Cornwall
… [+] and the U-shape of the narrow cove is perfect for framing the Milky Way. There was likely to be a boat in the cove but the photographer was very fortunate to find it perfectly positioned in the centre of the old slipway. The photographer shot several non-tracked sky exposures from the same tripod position to capture the cliffs and horizon (as these were blurred in the tracked shot) and in one, she was lucky enough to capture a meteor, which she copied into the final image. This is one of the photographerâs favourite locations in Cornwall and it was a magnificent night under the stars.
Geysir Aurora: Close to the Spring and Autumn Equinox, the Earth’s magnetic field aligns with the
… [+] incoming solar wind to create a better chance for aurora activity. The photographer had been waiting for signs of solar storm near the equinox date hoping that the ‘Russell-McPherron effect’ would kick in. During the last weekend in September it seemed there would be favourable terrestrial and space weather conditions, so the photographer travelled with a friend to Iceland. They were not disappointed. The northern lights danced all weekend, with clear skies every night. This shot shows the famous Geysir of Iceland preparing to blow with the aurora behind it.
Stokksnes Aurora: This image captures the stunning Stokksnes looking to the Vestrahorn and the most
… [+] powerful and beautiful night of aurora the photographer had ever seen. He travelled 1250 miles to try and capture his dream. In order to get the shot, the photographer ended up knee-deep in the North Atlantic in -6 degrees Celsius. The challenge was to capture the reflections in the water, on the black sand beach, and also not to over-expose the aurora. The photographer describes this as a truly awe-inspiring experience and one he feels blessed to have witnessed and captured on camera.
‘Northern Dragon’s Eye’
Northern Dragon’s Eye:The photographer loves to travel, especially exploring the north and chasing
… [+] the Northern Lights. Trying to capture how ordinary things can take magical forms under the lights, the photographer selected and lit this rocky outcrop and waited for the aurora to work its magic.
Hamnøy Lights: After two weeks of storm, clouds and snow in the Lofoten Islands, the sky finally
… [+] cleared up, providing perfect conditions for hunting the northern lights. The photographer waited patiently in their car for the light show to begin and on the first sign of the aurora borealis in the sky, he set up his camera at this famous overlook of the idyllic fishing village Hamnøy. The image is a manual exposure blend consisting of one base image for the sky and foreground plus a total of seven bracketed images to balance the highlights and shadows in the fishing village and water.
The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer
‘Kynance Cove under the Milky Way’
Kynance Cove under the Milky Way: This image is only the photographer’s second attempt at shooting
… [+] the Milky Way. It shows our galaxy over Kynance Cove in Cornwall, a beautiful spot with dark skis. It was taken on a cold, but fabulous night under the stars. As it was July, the sky was very blue, with full darkness only for about an hour. The foreground was taken at dusk and the sky is a stack of 4 images of 25 seconds taken later when the Milky Way appeared, the sky and foreground blended together in post processing.
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.