INSIGHT INVESTMENT ASTRONOMY PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2020 COMPETITION DATES, NEW PRIZE AND NEW JUDGES ANNOUNCED 

  • 2020 Competition dates: 13 January 2020 – 6 March 2020
  • New Prize announced: Annie Maunder Prize for Image Innovation
  • Three new judges join the panel: Dr Emily Drabek-Maunder, László Francsics and Susan Derges

The Royal Observatory Greenwich, in association with Insight Investment and BBC Sky at Night Magazine, announces the dates for the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 competition – its annual global search for the most outstanding visions of the cosmos, whether they are striking pictures of vast galaxies millions of light years away, or breathtaking images of the night sky much closer to home.

The internationally acclaimed competition will open to entrants on Monday 13 January 2020, with a grand prize of £10,000. Entrants will have until Friday 6 March 2020 to enter up to ten images into the various categories of the competition via www.rmg.co.uk/astrocomp

Now in its twelfth year, the competition is expanding into a new area of exploration and creativity. The new Annie Maunder Prize for Image Innovation, named after astronomer and an avid astrophotographer Annie Maunder, who worked at the Royal Observatory during the 1890s as one of the few female computers. Dr Emily Drabek-Maunder, astronomer at the Royal Observatory and new judge said:

This prize opens up the competition to everyone, allowing them to engage with real observations that astronomers use to study the complex workings of the Universe. I’m incredibly excited to see how people take these images and use their creativity to process and reimagine them.”

This year, the competition also welcomes three new judges who will join the judging panel of diverse expertise. The first addition is Dr Emily Drabek-Maunder, an astrophysicist, astronomer and a science communicator at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Over the past decade, Dr Drabek-Maunder has been using ground-based radio telescopes to work towards uncovering how stars and solar systems form in the Galaxy. Upon joining the competition Drabek-Maunder commented: “Astrophotographers are able to capture extraordinary images of the Universe and I’m eager to see the new and inspiring space photography in 2020”.

The second addition to the panel is the overall winner of Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2019, László Francsics. Francsics is the chairman of the Hungarian Astrophotographers’ Association and has received many awards for his space and artistic photography. On joining the judging panel Francsics commented: “Thanks to digital technology astrophotography became a new artistic photo genre in the past few decades. It is a new way for people to connect with the cosmos and it influences our visual culture more and more every year. Participating in this process is a unique adventure, that’s why I am honoured to be a part of the judging panel of the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 competition.”

Artist Susan Derges is the last new judge to join the panel. Derges works with imagery taken from the natural world and its relationship to themes of self and consciousness in science, psychology, spirituality and the imagination. Her work has been exhibited and collected worldwide.  On being a judge Derges said: “I’m really looking forward to joining the panel to look through this year’s inspiring Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year entries – who could fail to be moved by so many amazing images of the night sky, made by dedicated photographers who want to share an experience of the cosmos from their own very particular place and time on this planet.”

All of the winners, runners up and highly commended entries from this year, alongside some of the best shortlisted images of Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 competition, will be displayed in the dedicated gallery space at the National Maritime Museum and will feature 100 magnificent images.

Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 has nine main categories:

  • Skyscapes: Landscape and cityscape images of twilight and the night sky featuring the Milky Way, star trails, meteor showers, comets, conjunctions, constellation rises, halos and noctilucent clouds alongside elements of earthly scenery.
  • Aurorae: Photographs featuring the Northern and Southern Lights.
  • People and Space: Photographs of the night sky including people or a human interest element.
  • Our Sun: Solar images including solar eclipses and transits.
  • Our Moon: Lunar images including lunar eclipses and occultation of planets.
  • Planets, Comets and Asteroids: Everything else in our solar system, including planets and their satellites, comets, asteroids and other forms of zodiacal debris.
  • Stars and Nebulae: Deep space objects within the Milky Way galaxy, including stars, star clusters, supernova remnants, nebulae and other intergalactic phenomena.
  • Galaxies: Deep space objects beyond the Milky Way galaxy, including galaxies, galaxy clusters, and stellar associations.
  • Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year: Pictures taken by budding astronomers under the age of 16 years.

There are also two special prizes: The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer is awarded to the best photo by an amateur astrophotographer who has taken up the hobby in the last year and who has not entered an image into the competition before, and Annie Maunder Prize for Image Innovation recognizes the best photo processed using pre-existing open source data. Visit rmg.co.uk/imageinnovation to learn more about the new Annie Maunder Prize and see step-by-step guides for finding images and image processing.

Entries to the competition must be submitted by 6 March 2020, and the winning images will be showcased in the annual exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in September 2020.

Photographers can enter online by visiting www.rmg.co.uk/astrocomp and each entrant may submit up to ten images to the competition.

Website:                      www.rmg.co.uk/astrocomp

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