Guiding Light to the Stars
Australian photographer Mark Gee has beaten more than 1,000 amateur and professional photographers from around the globe to win the title of Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013.
As well as securing the £1,500 (USD $2,410) top prize, his image takes pride of place in the exhibition of winning photographs opening at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, in London, on 19 September 2013.
Mr Gee impressed the judges with the depth and clarity of his winning shot, depicting a star-riddled Milky Way alongside the beam from a lighthouse on Cape Palliser, shining out towards the sea, the stars and the unknown.
Dr Marek Kukula, a judge in the competition and the Royal Observatory's public astronomer, said: “I love the tranquil combination of sea and sky in this beautiful image, along with the comforting human element of the cliff-top lighthouse.
“This view from the shores of New Zealand makes me think of the long voyages the Maori's ancestors made into unchartered oceans, guided by the stars. We're in a similar situation today, as we set out to explore the universe.”
Gee's image was judged to be the overall winner as well as the winner of the Earth and space category of the competition.
The BBC Sky at Night Magazine’s editor, Chris Bramley, who is also a judge for the competition, said: "With more entries than ever, and so many displaying superb compositions and a spectacular eye for detail, the judges faced a real challenge this year. The exhibition will really show the drama and majesty of the night skies – never has our cosmos been captured so beautifully."
The competition is run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich and BBC Sky at Night Magazine. Now in its fifth year, the competition received a record number of more than 1,200 entries from 49 countries. The best of these exceptional photographs – winners, runners-up or highly commended in the competition’s different categories and special prizes – are showcased in a free exhibition in the Royal Observatory’s Astronomy Centre, which is open to the public from 19 September 2013 until 23 February 2014.
Winners and shortlisted entries will also be published in the competition’s official book (£25 - approximately USD $40), available from 19 September from bookshops and online. For information about entering next year’s competition visit www.rmg.co.uk/astrophoto.
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