The Space Photographer of the Year 2009 results were announced last week and having had a sneak peek at some of the entries we couldn't wait to get the Royal Observatory and see the winners and judges favourites. This first time event coincides with the Observatory’s International Year of Astronomy, but indications on the website suggest an intention to run the competition annually. The competition is supported by Flickr's Astrophotography group and teams up with Astronomy.net as part of a project to map the sky through astrotagging the photos added to the group.
The overall winner was Martin Pugh's stunning Horsehead Nebula, which also earned him first place in the Deep Space category. There were three other categories; Earth and Space, Our Solar System and Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year. Looking around the entries you begin to appreciate the level of technical detail involved in capturing these images, and understand the difficulty of capturing a good photograph, let alone one worthy of submission to a competition. The images pay testament to hours of preparation (one exposure was 40 hours!) and the delayed gratification harks back to the days of film.
Disappointingly, the images displayed are smaller than you'd want and whilst this detracts slightly from the experience we assume it's due to restrictions with the space available. These photographs are definitely worthy of a trip to Greenwich, and with the Planetarium across the hallway showing films every couple of hours you can get a great space fix.
"Space Photographer of the Year 2009" runs until 10th January 2010, daily from 9am until 5pm at Royal Observatory, Greeniwch, free entry, for more information go to Royal Observatory website.