The 2014 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition has just released its cosmically awesome shortlisted entries. Capturing scenes across the solar system, galaxy, and beyond, the images are spectacular reminders that we’re all living on a “mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam,” as astronomer Carl Sagan famously put it in “Pale Blue Dot.”
These images were chosen from more than 2,500 entries to the sixth annual competition, run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with BBC Sky at Night Magazine. Some photographers aim their lenses close to home: one snapped the aurora borealis dancing above the clouds from the window of a transatlantic flight between London and New York. Others peer 1,350 light years away, where new stars are born in the stellar nursery of the Orion Nebula, visible to the naked eye on a dark, moonless night. Above, a father and his young son watch the evening display of Comet PanSTARRS on First Encounter Beach, Eastham, Massachusetts, USA. The photographer had spent weeks preparing the shoot to capture the comet, which will not be seen again for over 100,000 years, in order to foster his son’s interest in astronomy. Then there’s stunning imagery of the Milky Way reflected in the Snake River at Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park; a solar eclipse gleaming through the steam of Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone; and Jupiter, captured moments before aligning with the body of the moon.
The winners of the competition’s four categories–Earth and Space, Our Solar System, Deep Space, and Young Astronomy Photographer of the year–will be announced on September 17. An exhibition of the winners will open the following day at the Royal Observatory. All the entries to the contest were submitted via the Astro Photo Flickr group and can be seen here.
Visitors witness the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park erupt as the Moon partially eclipses the Sun.
On October 30th, a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) hit Earth, displaying multi-colored auroras across the sky for most of the night in Kattfjordeidet, Tromsø, Norway. The old birch trees resemble arms reaching for the auroral corona appearing like a strange creature in the sky.
A composition of several images showing how our planet’s rotation draws the stars out into circles. Separated from the sky by the stark line of the horizon, the atomic symmetries of crystallized rock turn into hexagonal columns at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 60’s, Tom developed a strong desire to create positive change for people and planet.
He went on to pursue his passion for art and design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and worked for design firms in Southern California before moving to Boise, Idaho in the early 80’s. Foerstel Design opened its doors in 1985. Since its inception, the firm has cultivated a bold, happy, forward-looking team focussed on creating distinct and effective work on behalf of their clients.
An integral part of Tom’s philosophy is giving back to the community in which he lives — a company cornerstone that drives Foerstel’s long history of providing pro-bono services to local non-profit humanitarian and arts programs.
One of Tom’s proudest personal achievements is his ability to say Supercalifragilisticexpyalidocious backwards.