TWAN's 2012 "Earth & Sky" contest
, and judges have selected the top photos in two categories. The first prize in the "Beauty of the Night Sky" category goes to Jia Hao for this photo, “Comet Lovejoy over Australia.” The wide-angle view focuses on Comet Lovejoy during its spectacular appearance in the southern skies during December 2011.
Jia Hao / TWAN 2012
The World at Night is an international effort to present nightscape imagery that highlights the world's landmarks as well as celestial attractions. More than 600 pictures were submitted by photographers for
The first prize in the "Against the Lights" category goes to Norbert Span for his photo, “Stars Above Innsbruck”. The panoramic image shows the northern stars above the lights of Innsbruck, a city embraced by the Alps in Austria. The "Against the Lights" category is meant for pictures that illustrate the effect that city lights can have on night observing.
“Startrails Over Dolomites” by German astrophotographer Christoph Otawa is the second-place winner in the "Beauty of the Night Sky" category.
Second-place honors in the "Against the Lights" category were awarded to Luis Argerich for his photo “Lights 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 the lights of nearby towns and faraway cities.
Third-place winner in the "Against the Lights" category is Luc Perrot's "Comet Lovejoy Over Reunion Island." His panoramic photo shows the comet set against city lights on Reunion Island in the southern Indian Ocean.
Norbert Span shows how the floodlights of a ski resort in Tyrol, Austria, can make the stars vanish from the skies over the Alps. The photo earned fourth place in the TWAN contest's "Against the Lights" category.
This picture shows the lights of nearby towns, the winter stars, and the moon between the bright planets Venus and Jupiter - all shining over the ruins of an ancient castle in Iran's central desert. Majid Ghohroodi's photo won fifth place in the "Against the Lights" category.
Stephane Vetter won third place in the "Beauty of Night Sky" category for this view of a strong auroral display over the Arctic Henge in Iceland, a stone monument built to celebrate the Midnight Sun in the Arctic Circle.
Thomas Neudert's photo of snow-covered trees in the moonlight won fourth place in the "Beauty of Night Sky" category.
Eric Hines' peaceful image shows the Milky Way dominating the summer skies over a country road in Wyoming. The image won fifth place in the "Beauty of Night Sky" category.