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Some Amazing Shots Of Space: The 2012 Astronomy Photographers Of The Year
September 22, 2012
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Here's a great quote from Sir Arthur C. Clarke - the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey - contemplating the idea of alien life.

"Sometimes I think we're alone. Sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the prospect is staggering!"

That idea ties in nicely with this story. For the past four years, the Royal Observatory Greenwich in London has held a competition for the Astronomy Photographer of the Year.

This year, the observatory received more than 800 entries from astronomers and astrophotographers from around the world. And in the Young category, the number of entries were almost double from last year.

With the help of 'Sky at Night' Magazine and the photo-sharing website Flickr, the observatory asked people to submit photos in the following categories...

'Deep Space', 'Earth and Space', 'Our Solar System', and 'Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year'. There are also prizes for 'Best Newcomer', 'People and Space' and 'Robotic Scope'.

Here's a look at some of the winners, as selected by the observatory's judges. And they include a 15-year-old Canadian named Jacob von Chorus.

Winner: Deep Space - The Whirlpool Galaxy by Martin Pugh (UK/Australia)

Winner: Earth and Space - Star Icefall by Masahiro Miyasaka (Japan)

Winner: Our Solar System - Transit of Venus 2012 in Hydrogen-Alpha by Chris Warren (UK)

Winner: Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year - Pleiades Cluster by Jacob von Chorus (Canada), aged 15

You can see more of this year's winners here, and check out past winners as well.

If you're in the U.K. in the next several months, the best images are on display at the Royal Observatory Greenwich in London until February 5th, 2013. And it's free.

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