“Once again, we had a fantastic year of astrophotography, and the participants have produced amazing images for the competition,” said Ed Bloomer, astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. “The level is incredibly high. It was really satisfying to see how many participants challenged themselves to capture extraordinary, rarely photographed or fleeting events: there are some things you haven’t seen before, and even some we will never see again.”
Austrian photographer Gerald Riemann captured this year’s stunning winning photo in Namibia on Christmas Day. The shot looks at Comet Leonard, which was only discovered in early 2021, and Riemann was lucky enough to capture an extremely rare separation event before the comet leaves our solar system and will never be seen again.
Gerald explained, “A piece of Comet Leonard’s tail snapped off and was carried away by the solar wind. I was very fortunate that the weather at Tivoli Farm in Namibia was excellent when I opened the roof of the observatory. I realized that the comet’s tail looked interesting in the first image I took, so I decided to expand the field of view with a second image. And that’s where the breakup happened.”
Another feature in the Moon category award winner came from British photographer Martin Lewis. Judge Steve Marsh said this stunning shot highlights the staggering size of some of these moon craters.
“I never tire of looking at craters on the moon, but this shot of Plato amazed me with its long sweeping shadows,” Marsh said. “If you think about the length and size of those shadows and the mountains that make up, this photo is truly a deserved winner.”
Other highlights show the international space expanse perched above the 1969 lunar landing site, the stars streaming behind a snow-capped mountain in Tibet, and a truly unique mosaic of several shots of the sun formed to resemble rings on a tree trunk.
Take a look through our gallery of all the amazing winners from this year’s competition.