See the winning images of the Indian Astrophotographer of the Year contest

The second annual Indian Astrophotographer of the Year contest has come to a close, unveiling a collection of breathtaking images that range from night-sky landscapes to deep-sky objects. This prestigious competition, organized by Astronomads Bangla, a group of four astroimagers who formed during the COVID-19 pandemic, has garnered significant attention within the astroimaging community in India. The contest was judged by a panel of esteemed astrophotographers – Ajay Talwar, Dorje Angchuk, and Vikas Chander. A total of 751 images were submitted by 142 participants, showcasing the immense talent and passion of India’s astrophotography community.

The winners and shortlisted images were unveiled in a captivating livestream on December 24 and will also be exhibited at the M. P. Birla Planetarium in Kolkata from December 31, 203 to January 7, 2024. This exhibition promises to be a remarkable showcase of the awe-inspiring beauty of the cosmos captured through the lenses of talented astrophotographers.

Among the winners, Soumya Banerjee’s mesmerizing image, titled “Stat Tso,” emerged victorious in the nightscape category. The photograph beautifully captures the reflection of the Milky Way in the serene waters of the lake, located in the mountain pass of Pensi La Pass in the Zanskar Valley of the Ladakh region. Banerjee’s exceptional composition and skillful use of light truly make this image stand out.

Moving on to the deep sky category, Devesh Pande claimed the top spot with his remarkable image titled “The Garlic Pop Nebula.” This captivating photograph showcases the intricate details of this celestial object, leaving viewers in awe of the wonders of the universe. Pravas Deria’s image, “The Eagle Nebula,” secured the runner-up position, while Anil Kumar MN’s image, “The Pleiades,” received a highly commendable mention. Additionally, several other talented astrophotographers made it to the shortlist, further highlighting the immense talent within the community.

In the solar system category, Sona Shahani Shukla’s image titled “Eclipse on Jupiter” was crowned the winner. This impressive photograph captures a rare celestial event, showcasing the mesmerizing beauty of our neighboring planet. Nihal S Amin’s image, “Coronal streamers,” secured the runner-up position, and Aditya Kinjawadekar’s “Dusty Mars” received a highly commendable mention. The shortlisted images in this category also deserve recognition for their exceptional quality and technical expertise.

Recognizing the talent and contributions of women astrophotographers, the contest included a category specifically dedicated to them. Vidya Vasudevan emerged as the winner in this category with her image titled “Milky Way and the Mighty Mountain i.” This captivating photograph beautifully combines the grandeur of the Milky Way with the majestic mountain landscape. Sona Shahani Shukla’s “The Pelican Nebula” and Vidya Vasudevan’s “Milky Way and Venus at Golden Hour” were also shortlisted in this category, showcasing the remarkable skills of these talented women.

Furthermore, the contest also acknowledged the growing trend of mobile astrophotography. Aditya Kinjawadekar’s image titled “Milky Way and the mighty Rajgad fort” claimed the top spot in this category, proving that stunning astrophotography can be captured using just a mobile device. Karthik P’s “Selfie with Milky Way” and Subham Rath’s “Under the Celestial Canopy Forest Roads by Starlight” were also shortlisted, further highlighting the potential of mobile astrophotography.

The Indian Astrophotographer of the Year contest has undoubtedly provided a platform for astrophotographers to showcase their talent and passion. The remarkable images captured in this year’s competition not only celebrate the beauty of the cosmos but also inspire and educate individuals about the wonders of astronomy.

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