1st prize in the Beauty of the Night Sky category - "A Starry Night of Iceland". Image Credit: Stephane Vetter, TWAN
If this doesn’t inspire you to get your camera out then not much will! These scenes of the night sky, as seen from Earth look almost too surreal to be true.
The images below, remarkable for their beauty and captured by photographers have been named in the top ten of most vibrant and stunning photos taken across the world in the last year.
The competition, Best Night-Sky Pictures 2011 (our favourite winner above) is organised by The World At Night (TWAN) and highlights just how incredible our planet is once the sun goes down. Open to anyone, anywhere around the world the competition received around 240 entries from about 30 countries.
The image theme given this year was “Dark Skies Importance” and the submitted photos were judged in two ways: “Beauty of the Night Sky” and “Against the Lights.” The best images were those most effective in impressing people on both how important and amazing the night sky is, and also how bad light pollution has become. Today, most city skies have become virtually void of stars. Light pollution obscures the stars, interferes with astronomical observatories and of course disrupts ecosystems and has health effects.
TWANS’ criteria included a request for ‘landscape astrophotography’, or pictures of landmarks against the night sky. Their aim was to bridge the gap between the natural and man-made worlds. Here’s some to be getting on with.
1st prize in the Against the Lights category - “Alps at Night”. Image Credit: Thomas Kurat, TWAN
2nd place winner in the Against the Lights category - “Isfahan Milky Way”. Image Credit: Mehdi Momenzadeh, TWAN
2nd place winner in the Beauty of the Night Sky category - “Galactic View from Planet Earth”. Image Credit: Alex Cherney, TWAN
3rd place winner in the Against the Lights category - “Lisbon Sky Lights”. Image Credit: Miguel Claro, TWAN
To see the full 10 winning images complete with full descriptions go to the official TWAN site here.