Our wondrous night sky is the focus of an awe-inspiring collection of astrophotography images, released by travel photography blog Capture the Atlas for its Milky Way Photographer of the Year gallery 2023.
Now in its sixth year, Capture the Atlas releases its annual Milky Way photo competition in late May, to coincide with the peak visibility of the galactic centre in both hemispheres. This year’s shortlist was narrowed down from over 3,000 entries to 25 images, that were snapped in 16 countries around the world – the US, Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar, Chile, Argentina, Namibia, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Spain, Slovenia, Japan, Iran, Peru, Yemen and Indonesia.
As Capture the Atlas says: "Modern cameras can capture vibrant details and colors in the night sky beyond what our eyes can see. However, what really matters in any great image is the photographer behind the camera, who provides the idea, plan, and creativity to bring the image to life."
Here are five of OGN's favourites from this year's photography competition short list.
The arch of the Milky Way appears to be steaming out of a rock chimney in Argentina's Cafayete desert.
This extraordinary image, taken in Bulgaria, demonstrates what it might look like if the Milky Way we see in summer and the version visible in winter were both present in the sky at the same time. This involved taking photos from the same spot at different times of the year and blending them together into one remarkable 360 degree panorama.
The high altitude of the mountains in La Palma (in the Canary Islands) keeps the skies clear above the clouds, making it perfect for capturing the night sky.
Milky Way shining above a glorious avenue of baobab trees in Madagascar.
This panoramic photograph captures the breathtaking scene in the Gross Spitzkoppe Nature Reserve, Namibia, where the southern Milky Way gracefully spans a remarkable formation of smooth granite boulders.