Hungarian photographer László Francsics wins the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s title of Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2019. As well as securing the £10,000 top prize, his image takes pride of place in the exhibition of winning photographs opening at the National Maritime Museum on 13 September 2019.
Francsics with his ‘Into the Shadow’ image captivated and astounded the judges. Taken in Budapest, Hungary, the photograph depicts a creative and artistic composition of the 35 phases of the total lunar eclipse that occurred on January 21 2019. Competition judge Ed Robinson said: “For a single multiple-exposure image to capture this event with such positional precision, creative innovation and beauty is nothing short of masterful. The colours of our atmosphere projected onto the Moon’s disc during the eclipse are not only artistically pleasing but also offer an understanding of such events that can reveal aspects of our own, thin, yet essential part of our atmosphere. In a year that celebrates 50 years since the first lunar landings it is fitting that this year’s overall winning image captures such a dynamic and captivating view of our Moon. A worthy winner indeed”. Judge Oana Sandu from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) added: “The original composition, the quality of the shots themselves, the chromatic and visual impact, all make for a photograph that will catch the viewer’s eye and interest.”
Winning images from other categories and special prizes include a remarkable panorama taken from the top of the mountain Offersøykammen, showcasing the Aurora Borealis over the Lofoten Islands in Norway, by Nicolai Brügger (Germany); an atmospheric image depicting the photographer, Ben Bush (UK), with his dog Floyd surrounded by Mars, Saturn and the galactic core of the Milky Way galaxy; and an extraordinary sequence of images of Mars, that follows the progress of the great global dust storm, by Andy Casely (Australia). In the Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year category, 11-year-old Davy van der Hoeven (Netherlands) is taking home the top prize for his remarkable deep sky image of the Rosette Nebula, a mesmerising flower-shaped nebula, located in the constellation Monoceros, that lies 5,000 light-years from Earth.
BBC Sky at Night Magazine’s Art Editor, who is also a judge for the competition, Steve Marsh said of this year’s contest: “Each year the competition attracts the most awe inspiring astrophotography taken from across the globe and this year was no exception. The imagination, patience and skill that clearly went into so many of the entries was astounding and wonderful to see. There was also a real drive by imagers to capture rare celestial objects and to push their equipment further than ever before. That Astronomy can inspire such passion and devotion is something we can all be very proud of.”
Tom Kerss, astronomer at the Royal Observatory and judge for the competition, said: “Every year the standard rises, and entrants continue to find creative new ways to express their artistry. This year’s selection contains so many unique approaches to astrophotography – real love letters to the art form, which stay with you long after you’ve seen them. I’m looking forward to the discussions these images will inspire about our shared sky, and the ever-expanding field of capturing and interpreting it. With such a beautiful collection to talk about, the competition really has become astrophotography’s ‘World Cup’.”
Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year is run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with Insight Investment and BBC Sky at Night Magazine. Now in its eleventh year, the competition received a record number of over 4,600 entries, taken from 90 countries across the globe. This year, for the first time since the launch of the Special Prize: The Sir Patrick Moore prize for Best Newcomer category, the judges have chosen two joint winners due to the high standard of images received.
These exceptional photographs – winners, runners-up or highly commended – are showcased alongside a remarkable selection of 68 shortlisted images, in the major special exhibition Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, opening to the public from 13 September 2019.
This year’s winners and shortlisted entries will also be published in the competition’s official book by Collins, available exclusively at Royal Museums Greenwich shops and online from 13 September and on sale across all bookstores from 7 November, £25.
For the second year, admirers and enthusiasts of astrophotography can start voting, online and in the exhibition, for the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year: People’s Choice Awards 2019 and choose their favourite image, out of 24 pre-selected by the competition team. The winners will be announced in February 2020.
For information about entering next year’s competition visit the website here.
And, to see the all the winning images, visit the website.
Picture: Into the Shadow © László Francsics