© Tom Lowe
  • Astronomy Photographer of the Year

    This image of a bristlecone pine tree under the Milky Way took the top prize in the second annual Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, run by the <a href="http://www.nmm.ac.uk/places/royal-observatory/" target="external">Royal Observatory</a> of Greenwich, England. Hosted with <a href="http://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/" target="external">Sky at Night magazine</a>, the contest received more than 400 entries from about 25 countries. The winner, "Blazing Bristlecone," was shot by Tom Lowe in California's White Mountains.
    © Tom Lowe
  • Astronomy Photographer of the Year

    Anthony Ayiomamitis of Greece took this photo, "Siberian Totality," during a total eclipse of the Sun. The image shows the faint solar corona usually lost in the sun's glare. The long streamers and prominences are hot gases reaching out into the solar system.
    © Anthony Ayiomamitis
  • Astronomy Photographer of the Year

    Dhruv Arvind Paranjpye, a 14-year-old from India, won the "Young Astronomy Photography" category with this image of a solar eclipse over India in 2009. The light around the edge of the circle is the sun's atmosphere, or corona, only visible during an eclipse. To create the image, called "A Perfect Circle," Paranjpye used the dark clouds as a filter.
    © Dhruv Arvind Paranjpye
  • Astronomy Photographer of the Year

    This image, "The Whirpool Galaxy," was taken by Ken Mackintosh of the U.K. and won the "Best Newcomer" category. Drawn together by gravity, two galaxies interact. Eventually the smaller galaxy will be torn apart or swallowed by the larger one -- a process that will take millions of years.
    © Ken Mackintosh
  • Astronomy Photographer of the Year

    The image shown here, "Photon Worshippers," was the winner of the "People & Space" category and was taken by Steven Christenson. For a few weeks every year the setting sun is in the correct position to shine directly through this portal in a large rock formation at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, California.
    © Steve Christenson
  • Astronomy Photographer of the Year

    This photo, "The Whisper of the Wind" by Dave Brosha, was a runner-up in the "Earth & Space" category. It's a display of the Aurora Borealis taken from Kellowknife, in Canada's Northwest Territories. The aurora is created by charged particles from the Sun interacting with the Earth's magnetic field.
    © Dave Brosha
  • Stunning Photos of Space Capture Top Honors

    Rogelio Bernal Andreo of the U.S. won the "Deep Space" category with this photo, "Orion Deep Wide Field." It shows a section of the constellation Orion, including the 3 famous stars of the belt, the Horsehead Nebula and the Orion Nebula.
    © Rogelio Bernal An
  • Astronomy Photographer of the Year

    "Solstice Full Moon Rising" by Anthony Ayiomamitis. It was a "Highly Commended" photo in the "Earth & Space" category. It shows the rising full moon against the Temple of Poseidon (built 450-440 BC) in southern Greece. It took Ayiomamitis fifteen months to plan the exact time and position at which to get the shot. The light is right for the picture for less than five minutes.
    © Anthony Ayiomamitis
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