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Of golden rings and galactic family photos: The best astro photos of 2021

Photographer Shuchang Dong won the “Astronomy Photographer of the Year” competition this year. His photo shows an annular solar eclipse that he captured in June 2020. It impresses with its reduction and technical perfection. The jury emphasizes the square trim, which creates tension for the mystical ring. “A real masterpiece”, judges juror László Francsics, former winner of the competition and well-known astro photographer.

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There was also a good deal of luck involved in the shooting, as Dong was unlucky with the weather at his photo spot in Tibet. Dark clouds prevented him from seeing the sky spectacle, but then the sun managed to break through for a brief moment, which Dong was able to capture with the camera. It is precisely these mystical, dark blue cloud structures to which the winning picture “The Golden Ring” owes its extraordinary effect.

The winning picture prevailed against more than 4,500 pictures that were submitted to the traditional competition this year. It is organized by the Royal Observatory Greenwich together with the magazine “BBC Sky at Night”.

As the overall winner, Shuchang Dong is taking in prize money of 10,000 pounds (just under 12,000 euros). However, he is not the only winner, because the jury also selected the best pictures in each individual category of the competition. In addition, 15-year-old Zhipu Wang won the youth competition with his “family photo” of the planets. He receives prize money of 1,500 pounds (almost 1,800 euros) as well as the Celestron Astromaster 130EQ MD telescope sponsored by the manufacturer.

You can find all of this year’s winning pictures in our photo gallery.

“The Golden Ring” is not only the winning picture of the entire competition, but also the winner in the “Our Sun” category. It was recorded by Shuchang Dong (China) in Tibet in June 2020. He worked with the mirrorless system camera Fujifilm X-T4.

Sun: 386 millimeters, f / 10, ISO 160, 1/2000 s

Himmel/Wolken:  386 Millimeter,  f/16, ISO 160, 1 s, ND1000-Filter (Bild: The Golden Ring © Shuchang Dong (China) / Astronomy Photographer of the Year )

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