Ever stood outside and oohed and aahed at the skies above? And then tried to snap a photograph with your smart phone, only to see the dazzling image reduced to a few smears and sparks? Not all of us are meant to compete for the title of Astronomy Photographer of the Year, that's for sure.
Instead, take some time to marvel at the finalists in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, run by The Royal Observatory Greenwich in the UK, supported by Liberty Specialty Markets and in association with BBC Sky at Night Magazine.
There were more than 3,000 entries from both amateur and professional photographers in 67 different countries. It's the 14th year of the contest. Finalists include images of the Harvest Moon rising behind Glastonbury Tor in the UK, the lights of the Milky Way mirrored by the highest national highway in the world in Tibet, one of the most detailed amateur-produced maps of the lunar south pole, created in the US, a partial solar eclipse over Italy, and the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy captured in Australia 270 years after its discovery.
The organization notes that one of the astronomical highlights of 2021 was the discovery of Comet Leonard, a long period comet identified by G.J. Leonard on 3 January 2021. Almost a quarter of submissions to the Planets, Comets and Asteroids category focused on Comet Leonard.
Winners will be announced on Sept. 15. The winning images will then be displayed at Britain's National Maritime Museum as well as showcased in an official book. Take a look at them below and see if you can predict any winners.