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There are some stunning entries for this year's Astronomy Photographer of the Year.
Copyright  Zhang Xiao

From solar flares to Aurora Borealis: Best shots from the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Awards

By Jutalla Coulibaly-Willis

The shortlist for 2021’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year has been unveiled by Royal Museums Greenwich. From radiant Lunar Halos in Sweden to California Nebulas, this year’s selection is more dazzling than ever.

The competition, now in its 13th year, is widely considered the leading astrophotography competition on the globe.

Commissioned by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with BBC Sky at Night Magazine and with 4500 entries spanning 75 countries, making the shortlist is a prestigious feat.

While confined to the great indoors, we took the time to look over the vast and magical images of our solar system. Here’s a look at some of our shortlisted favourites:

The Astronomy Photographer of the Year shortlist

Andrew McCarthy

© Andrew McCarthy
The sun following a solar flare as its magnetic field pulled up segments of the chromosphere.© Andrew McCarthy

Captured initially in black and white and later processed partially inverted, the image’s vibrancy has marked an impressive start to the new solar cycle.

Yovin Yahathugoda

© Stefan Liebermann
The Milky Way hovering just above a lavender field in southeastern France.© Stefan Liebermann

This photograph, captured in Valensole, France is fittingly called Harmony. Liebermann’s work shows a twinkly Milky Way low in the sky above a lavender field.

Stefan Liebermann

© Yovin Yahathugoda
This Dolphin Head Nebula, located at the centre of the Canis Major constellation depicts an impressive bubble surrounding a star.© Yovin Yahathugoda

After a month of waiting for perfect conditions, the photographer captured this glowing wonder in only a tiny 1.5 hour window.

Markus van Hauten

Markus van Hauten
The Aurora Borealis pictured through the frame of a cave in Iceland.Markus van Hauten

Shot from both the inside and outside of this icy Icelandic cave, this image depicting the Aurora Borealis from within this freezing formation was a long time ambition for the photographer.

James Rushforth

James Rushforth
The United Kingdom’s famous Stonehenge photographed as Comet Neowise passes overhead.James Rushforth

Lit up by the orangey glow of light pollution from nearby dwellings and a passing vehicle, a once every 6800-year moment was beautifully captured at the UK’s Stonehenge.

Zhang Xiao

Zhang Xiao
The Milky Way pictured above Hongcun village in China.Zhang Xiao

Separated by a row of Hui style architecture, a pearlescent Milky Way reflects down upon Yuezhao Lake in the ancient village of Hongcun, China. Looming in the background is the famous Huangshan Mountain.

Péter Feltóti

Péter Feltóti
Now only the remnants of a giant supernova explosion, part of the vast Veil Nebula complex, is seen here.Péter Feltóti

The bicolour processing choice by the photographer shows a romance of colour between oxygen emissions and hydrogen-alpha.

Larryn Rae

Larryn Rae
The Aurora Borealis glows above a lone figure in Iceland.Larryn Rae

This Icelandic Vortex depicts the Aurora Borealis at its finest. Reflected on the estuary below, the luminous sky display was shot first, then the photographer himself braved it out on the ice. The result is a glowing reflection of the vastness of the natural world.

Jiajun Hua

Jiajun Hua
A morning sunrise above a smog filled Shanghai.Jiajun Hua

Shot with a pollution heavy view of Shanghai’s financial district, the sun can only be seen rising during a rare window of a few weeks each year. Taken using four different exposures, the photograph gives a rare glimpse of our sun’s magnificence above a bustling Lujiazui.

Anthony Sullivan

Anthony Sullivan
A glorious Milky Way photographed above a famous English coastline.Anthony Sullivan

Here, this natural rock formation Durdle Door in Lulworth, United Kingdom, can be seen under an umbrella of the sparkling Milky Way. Saturn and Jupiter lurk on the left periphery of the photograph.