Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013

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Runner up of the 'Deep Space' category. 'Rho Ophiuchi and Antares Nebulae' by Tom O’Donoghue, Ireland. The smoky appearance of the dust clouds in this image is fitting, since the grains of dust which make up the nebula are similar in size to particles of smoke here on Earth. The dust can reflect the light of nearby stars, as seen in the blue and yellow regions. It can also block and absorb the light of more distant stars, appearing brown and black in this image. To the right a bright star is ionizing a cloud of hydrogen gas, causing it to glow red, while below it far in the distance, is a globular cluster containing thousands of stars. (Tom O'Donoghue/ Royal Observatory’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013)

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A beautiful shot of the Milky Way has won the prestigious Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013. Now in its fifth year, the competition received a record number of entries - more than 1200 from 49 countries. All of the category winners, runners-up and commended images will be exhibited at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, until 23 February 2014.

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