Big Bang Monday: Astronomy Photographer of the Year

The winning image by James Woodend was of a green aurora pictured in Iceland’s Vatnajokull National Park. The light reflected almost symetrically in Jokulsrlon Glacier lagoon. A complete lack of wind and currrent combine in this sheltered lagoon scene to create an arresting mirror effect giving the image a sensation of utter stillness. © James Woodend

As reported by The Daily Mail

From clouds dancing across the Milky Way to a stunning solar eclipse over Kenya, the annual competition showcasing the mysterious depths of our universe has revealed some incredible images.

West Midlands-based photographer James Woodend beat over a thousand amateur and professional photographers from around the world to win the title of Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2014.

As well as securing the £1,500 ($2,440) top prize, his image takes pride of place in the exhibition of winning photographs opening today at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
The judges were mesmerised by Woodend’s shot portraying a vivid green aurora dancing across the Icelandic night sky and reflected symmetrically in the glacial Jökulsarlon lagoon of Vatnajökull National Park.

Competition judge and Royal Observatory Public Astronomer, Dr Marek Kukula said: ‘I love the combination of whites and blue in the glacier with the chilly green of the aurora in this wonderfully icy picture.

‘We’ve had some amazing aurora pictures in the competition over the last six years, but this is the first time a photo of the Northern Lights has actually won the Astronomy Photographer of the Year prize.

‘We were all completely in awe of the colours and symmetry of James’ shot.’

That really is a stunning image! Some of the others receiving commendation include the Horsehead Nebula, IC 1340 (part of the Veil Nebula), Helix Nebula, NGC 1999 and the surface of the Sun.

They’re on display now at the Royal Observatory’s Astronomy Centre in Greenwich (18 September 2014 to 22 February 2015).


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