Ghostly green auroras blanketing mountain ranges and rivers of stars flowing onto brightly lit towns are among some contest-winning portraits of the starry heavens. The best snapshots of the 2014 International Earth & Sky Photo Contest were announced this week.
Founded by the World at Night (TWAN) and the Dark Skies Awareness project (and partly organized by Astronomers Without Borders and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory), the annual contest, now in its fifth year, invites photographers to submit their best shots of landscape astrophotography—pictures that showcase both the Earth and the sky—as well as images that capture the battle against light pollution. (See related: “New Night Sky Timelapse Video: Stars and Storms Vie for Attention.”)
Check out this stunning video compilation of some of the top entries from this year’s contest.
“This competition encourages photographers with imagination to push their cameras to their technical limits and to produce eye-catching images that appear perfectly natural and are aesthetically pleasing,” said David Malin, a prominent member of the judging panel and a world-known pioneer in scientific astrophotography.
“Hundreds of nightscape photographers from across the world rose to the challenge, and the panel of nine judges was ultimately faced with finding the best from almost 800 images.”
Photographers from 55 countries submitted over a thousand entries to the contest this year. They were judged in two categories: “Beauty of the Night Sky” and “Against the Lights.” (See related: “Hubble Telescope Unveils Most Colorful View of the Universe Yet.”)
“Both contest categories provide a visual awareness of the disappearing starry night sky and hopefully an understanding as to its cause,” said contest judge Connie Walker, associate scientist and education specialist at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.
“The added hope is that the photos will provide an incentive to be more actively involved in reasonable light pollution solutions and therefore dark skies preservation.”