An unexpected and astonishing find located more than 2.5 million light-years from Earth took top honors at the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards this week. Amateur astronomers Marcel Drechsler, Xavier Strottner, and Yann Sainty captured an image of a massive plasma arc near the Andromeda Galaxy, a discovery that has resulted in scientists looking closer into the giant gas cloud.
“This astrophoto is as spectacular as [it is] valuable,” judge and astrophotographer László Francsics said in a press release. “It not only presents Andromeda in a new way, but also raises the quality of astrophotography to a higher level.”
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While “Andromeda, Unexpected” captured the prestigious overall winner title, other category winners also dazzled with photos of dancing auroras, neon sprites raining down from the night’s sky, and stunning far-off nebulas that might make you feel like a tiny earthling floating through space.
Sit back and scroll in awe at all the category winners, runners-up, and highly commended images from the 2023 Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year honorees.