2012 winner of the Earth and Space category: Star Icefall © Masahiro Miyasaka (Japan) Taken in Nagano, Japan, this image shows Orion, Taurus and the Pleiades as the backdrop to an eerie frozen landscape. Though the stars appear to gleam with a cold, frosty light, bright blue stars like the Pleiades can be as hot as 30,000 degrees Celsius
Run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, in association with Sky at Night Magazine, the competition is an international search for images of the cosmos, from photographs of galaxies millions of light years away, to dramatic images of the night sky taken closer to home.
Entrants have until 13 June to submit their entries, with the winning images due to be showcased in a free exhibition at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, from 19 September to 23 February 2014.
There are four main categories in the competition – Earth and Space, Our Solar System, Deep Space and Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year – taken by photographers under the age of 16. There are also three special prizes: People and Space, Best Newcomer and Robotic Scope, awarded to the best photograph taken using a computer-controlled telescope.
Photographers can enter the competition online by visiting www.rmg.co.uk/astrophoto and may each submit up to five images. The overall winner will receive £1500, with category winners each receiving £500. There are also runner-up cash prizes and all winning entries will receive a one-year subscription to Sky at Night Magazine.
In a press statement, competition judge and Sky at Night Magazine editor Chris Bramley, says: “The fantastic standard of entries last year showed that you don't need expensive equipment or decades of experience to take stunning astrophotos. I'm really looking forward to seeing what new astro-imagers submit in 2013.”
Also on the judging panel this year is space scientist and TV presenter Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Dr Marek Kukula, public astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, and science and astronomy writer Will Gater, among many others.
The winners of Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Royal Observatory on 18 September.
To view the entries online, visit: www.flickr.com/groups/astrophoto.
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