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Stunning photo of an “alien throne” is people’s choice of 2021 Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Astronomy Photographer of the Year usually shares the annual winners in September. It’s a long way from now, but there’s another treat for astrophotography fans out there: people’s choice. The contest has just published the People’s Choice Winners for 2021, and as always – they’re absolutely gorgeous.

The overall 2021 winner and the category winners were announced last year, with Chinese photographer Shuchang Dong selected as Astronomy Photographer of the Year. As for the People’s Choice award, the winning title was rewarded to Marcin Zajac for his mystical image titled Alien Throne.

Marcin is a Polish photographer living in Northern California, and his winning shot was taken in one of the most remote areas of the United States. It’s the rock spire also known as ‘hoodoo,’ and it is part of the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness in the San Juan Basin in New Mexico. Since the nearest town is 50 miles away, the photographer camped under the dark skies to capture the glorious Milky Way arched above this majestic terrain.

© Marcin Zajac/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2021

The second-place award goes to Roshaan Nadeem from Pakistan. His image The Annular Eclipse over Lahore depicts the different stages of the annular eclipse in the summer of 2020. As the name suggests, his image was shot over Lahore, Pakistan. What’s interesting is that Roshaan took it with a smartphone, handheld!

© Roshaan Nadeem/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2021

As for the third place, it went to Tunç Tezel from Turkey. His photo shows retrograde Mars and Uranus, and it took quite a while for it to be captured. Tezel captured the retrograde motions of the planets on 38 different nights and combined them in a single image.

© Tunç Tezel/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2021

The top three winners were chosen from a shortlist of 24 images, selected by the Royal Museums Greenwich from 4,500 images submitted to the thirteenth annual competition in 2021. If you’d like to enter the 2022 contest, you better hurry up as submissions close on 4 March. And then, let’s wait for September together and see the winners of this fantastic contest. I honestly can’t wait!

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