Above: Andy Casely’s sequence of Mars images, ‘Death of Opportunity’.

Two Australian astrophotographers have been announced as winners, runners up or highly commended in the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s title of Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2019 competition.

Andy Casely won the Planets, Comets and Asteroids category for his sequence of images of the recent great global dust storm on Mars. Andy titled his image ‘Death of Opportunity,’ as the dust storm was responsible for the demise of NASA’s Opportunity rover.

And James Stone was a runner up in the Aurorae category for his ‘Aurora Australis from Beerbarrel Beach’ image, while also being highly commended in the People and Space category for his ‘Cosmic Plughole’ image.

James Stone’s ‘Aurora Australis from Beerbarrel Beach’
James Stone’s ‘Cosmic Plughole’ image.

The overall winner of the competition is Hungarian photographer László Francsics, who has secured the £10,000 top prize with his ‘Into the Shadow’ image.

Taken in Budapest, Hungary, the photo depicts a creative and artistic composition of the 35 phases of the total lunar eclipse of January 21, 2019.

“For a single multiple-exposure image to capture this event with such positional precision, creative innovation and beauty is nothing short of masterful,” said competition judge Ed Robinson.

Francsics’ image will take pride of place in the exhibition of winning photographs opening at the UK National Maritime Museum on September 13, 2019.

Winning images from other categories and special prizes include:

  • a panorama taken from the top of the mountain Offersøykammen, showcasing the Aurora Borealis over the Lofoten Islands in Norway, by Nicolai Brügger (Germany);
  • an image depicting the photographer, Ben Bush (UK), with his dog Floyd surrounded by Mars, Saturn and the galactic core of the Milky Way galaxy;
  • 11-year-old Davy van der Hoeven (Netherlands) took home the Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year prize for his image of the Rosette Nebula

The competition, now in its eleventh year, received a record number of more than 4,600 entries from 90 countries.

Members of the public can now vote online for the People’s Choice Awards 2019, choosing their favourite image out of 24 pre-selected by the competition team.

The People’s Choice winners will be announced in February 2020.