Beauty of the Earth and Sky

"I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day" ~Vincent Van Gogh

For Global Astronomy Month 2011, we held an astrophotography contest "Earth and Sky" in collaboration with The World at Night. The theme of the contest was "Dark Skies Importance”. The submitted photos were judged in two categories: “Beauty of the Night Sky” and “Against the Lights.” We received many entries from around the world. Below is the winning photos from both categories. Going through them will make you realise that words of Van Gogh's couldn't be more right.

Against the Lights category

The first prize in the Against the Lights category goes to Thomas Kurat for his photo “Alps at Night”. It shows the starry sky above a misty Alpine valley and village lights in Austria.

The second-place winner in the Against the Lights category is Mehdi Momenzadeh from Iran for his panoramic photo “Isfahan Milky Way”.

Third place: “Lisbon Sky Lights” by Miguel Claro from Portugal. The photo shows stars and the crescent moon trail over a landmark bridge in Lisbon dominated by the city’s light pollution.

Fourth place: “Venus above Reunion Island” by Luc Perrot.

Fifth place: “Lights from the Hidden City” by Ben Canales. The photo is taken from mountains near Portland in the United States and displays how the lights from the city illuminate clouds in the night sky.

Beauty of the Night Sky category

The first prize in the Beauty of the Night Sky category goes to Stephane Vetter for his photo “A Starry Night of Iceland” which displays the northern lights and the Milky Way above arctic landscape of Iceland.

“Galactic View from Planet Earth” by Alex Cherney from Australia is the second-place winner in the Beauty of the Night Sky category.

Third place: “Beauty of Southern Sky” by Luc Perrot. The French night sky photographer made this panoramic image from Reunion Island in the southern Indian Ocean.

Fourth place: “The Great Wall at Night” by Xiaohua from China. The photo displays the Milky Way above one of the gates to the Great Wall of China.

Fifth place: “Startrails above an Alien Lake” by Grant Kaye. The image shows startrails around the north celestial pole as captured from the bizarre looking structures at shores Mono Lake in California.

Credit: Images and content courtesy of TWAN. Original source: Earth and Sky photo contest.