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The 2012 Earth & Sky Photo Contest Winners

Selected from submissions by photographers in about 50 countries, the winners of 2012 Earth and Sky Photo Contest display the beauties of night sky and its battle with light pollution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Contest video: the winners and the notable photos. Enjoy the video in full screen with the sounds on.

2012 May 9: The winners of the Third International Earth and Sky Photo Contest on Dark Skies Importance are announced. International projects The World at Night and Global Astronomy Month along with the National Optical Astronomy Observatory are the organizers of the Earth and Sky Photo Contest. The contest was founded by TWAN and Dark Skies Awareness project in 2008 as a regional program. It was expanded to an international effort in 2009 during the International Year of Astronomy. The 2012 contest submission period was during April, the Global Astronomy Month. Submitted photographs were all taken since the beginning of 2011 and were all created in the 揟WAN style敆showing both the Earth and the sky梑y combining elements of the night sky set in the backdrop of the Earth horizon with a notable location or landmark. This style of photography is called 搇andscape astrophotography. This is similar to general "Nightscape Photography" but with more attention to the sky, astronomical perspectives, and celestial phenomena. Share this page: twanight.org/contest Further notes about the 2012 TWAN contest result on Sky&Telescope


The contest was open to anyone of any age, anywhere around the world. With a significant increase to the last year contest over 600 entries were received. About 300 of these images were carefully selected to be judged (those not in TWAN-style or far from the contest level were removed). The images were taken and submitted from about 50 countries and territories including Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, England, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Marshal Islands, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Reunion Island, Romania, Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, South Georgia Island, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, USA, and Venezuela.
A large percentage of the participants were from the United States, China, India, England, Austria, Iran, Canada, and Germany.

According to the contest theme of 揇ark Skies Importance, the submitted photos were judged in two categories: 揃eauty of the Night Sky and 揂gainst the Lights. The selected images are those most effective in impressing public on both how important and amazing the starry sky is and how it affects our lives, and also how bad the problem of light pollution has become. Today, most city skies are virtually empty of stars. Light pollution (excessive light that scatters to the sky instead of illuminating the ground) not only is a major waste of energy, it also obscures the stars, interferes with astronomical observatories and, like any other form of pollution, disrupts ecosystems and has adverse health effects. Similar to TWAN itself, the contest also aims to reclaim the natural beauty of starry sky and to help preserving the dark skies which are not yet affected by artificial lights.

Contest Winners
The first prize in the Beauty of the Night Sky category goes to Jia Hao for his photo 揅omet Lovejoy over Australia which displays the spectacular appearance of comet Lovejoy in the southern skies during December 2011. The photo won a complete set of Polarie Star Tracker (a value of over $900) provided by Vixen, including the tracking mount, the special tripod and ball head, and the polar scope. Polarie is a smart mount for DSLR cameras, an ultra-compact mount to track the stars for nightscapes or deep sky photography using just a camera and a lens.

The first prize in the Against the Lights category goes to Norbert Span for his photo 揝tars above Innsbruck. The panoramic image shows the northern stars above the lights of Innsbruck, a city embraced by the Alps in Austria. The photo won the latest model of Astrotrac TT320X AG Tracking Mount (a value of about $600) provided by Oceanside Photo and Telescope (OPT), as well as a $100 gift certificate from the OPT and one year subscription to the Sky&Telescope magazine.

揝tartrails over Dolomites by Christoph Otawa is the second place winner in the Beauty of the Night Sky category, receiving a 102mm (4'') refracting telescope by Canadian Telescopes (a value of $500) and one year subscription to Sky&Telescope magazine.

The second place winner in the Against the Lights category is Luis Argerich for his photo 揕ights or Stars. The panoramic photo from Argentina displays the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds from a countryside location where the sky is fairly dark but the horizon is dominated by increasing lights of nearby towns and far away cities. The photo won one year subscription to Sky&Telescope magazine and $400 gift certificates from Dubai Telescope; a leading telescope and astronomical equipment provider in the Middle East.


The winner images in the 2012 TWAN Earth and Sky Photo Contest

The other winners in the Against the Lights category are:
Third place: Luc Perrot for his panoramic photo of comet Lovejoy and city lights in the Reunion Island in southern Indian Ocean. The photo receives one year subscription to Sky&Telescope magazine, and a 15X70 binocular with $150 gift certificate from OPT.

Fourth place: 揂lps at Night by Norbert Span shows how the flooding lights of a ski resort in Tyrol, Austria, vanishes the starry sky of Alps. The image won $150 gift certificates from the Oceanside Photo and Telescope (OPT).

Fifth place: 揝ky above the Ancient Persia by Majid Ghohroodi who receives $100 gift certificates from Dubai Telescope. The photo shows the lights of nearby towns, the winter stars, and the moon between bright planets Venus and Jupiter, all shining over an ancient castle ruins in Iran central desert.

The 3rd to 5th winners in the Beauty of Night Sky category are:
Third place: 揑celand Northern Lights by Stephane Vetter won a Deluxe Eyepiece kit (value of $250) and a $100 gift certificate from Canadian Telescopes. The photo has captured strong aurora display over the Arctic Henge in Iceland; a new henge-like array of stone to celebrate the Midnight sun in the Arctic Circle.

Fourth place: 揂 Moonlit Winter Night by Thomas Neudert who receives a 15X70 binocular from OPT and one year subscription to Sky&Telescope magazine.

Fifth place: 揅ountryside Milky Way by Eric Hines who receives one year subscription to Sky&Telescope magazine. The peaceful image shows the summer Milky Way and starry sky over a countryside road in Wyoming, United States.

All the winning photos are also slated to appear on the TWAN Guest Gallery. There are about 25 other photos which are positively voted by the judges. These special mention images are shown in the second half of the contest announcement video.




Contest Judging
The judging panel for the 3rd Earth and Sky Photo Contest included:
- David Malin (Widely considered the most distinguished night sky photographer in the world; TWAN member and consultant.)
- Connie Walker (Director of the Globe at Night program; science education specialist at the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory.)
- Wally Pacholka (widely accomplished TWAN member in the United States)
- Tunc Tezel (TWAN member in Turkey, and one of the contest main coordinators)
- Thad VSoske (TWAN member and the Guest Gallery coordinator; dedicated timelapse photographer)
- Richard Wainscoat (Photographer and astronomer at the University of Hawaii; chair of the International Astronomical Union抯 Commission on Controlling Light Pollution)
- Babak Tafreshi (Founder and director of TWAN; award-winning photographer; board member of Astronomers Without Borders)

The contest organizers wish to gratefully acknowledge the collaboration of the following sponsors in providing the contest prizes:

Vixen Co. ,Ltd
Oceanside Photo & Telescope (OPT)
Sky&Telescope Magazine
Canadian Telescopes
Dubai Telescope

The contest was also kindly supported by the University of Hawaii with technical support and server hosting for the contest submissions (special thanks to Narayan S. Raja at the University of Hawaii Institute of Astronomy).

The Photo Contest and Global Astronomy Month: the submission period of the Earth and Sky Photo Contest was during April 2012 as part of the a Global Astronomy Month, worldwide activities coordinated by Astronomers Without Borders and organize by the international astronomy community to share the beauty of the night sky with others.




Related links
- Short link to this page twanight.org/contest
- Sky&Telescope article on more information and notes about the 2012 contest results by TWAN director Babak Tafreshi
- National Geographic online coverage of the 2012 contest winners.
- MSNBC news story and slideshow on TWAN 2012 contest winners
- Discovery news coverage of the 2012 contest
- Huffingtonpost report of the contest
- The Daily news on the contest result
- Winners of 2011 Earth & Sky Photo Contest
- Winners of 2010 Earth & Sky Photo Contest
- Other notable photos of the 2010 contest

   



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