Anti-light-pollution nonprofit DarkSky International has announced the winners of its annual “Capture the Dark” contest — and the winning images are stunning.
“This year we saw some of the most beautiful images from around the world we’ve ever seen,” said Michael Rymer, program associate for DarkSky International. “These spectacular views of the night sky show how our place in nature doesn’t stop at the horizon, and the sky above is a fragile and beautiful resource we must protect and reclaim.”
A recent study found that the brightness of the night sky has increased by seven to 10% per year over the past 12 years, making it even more difficult for city dwellers to see stars, let alone the Milky Way.
The arc of our Milky Way—visible directly after dark from places with no light pollution, such as the Dark Sky Place—features prominently in images obtained from distant Taiwan and Inner Mongolia.
Here are some of the winning astro-photos – here are the rest:
‘The Milky Way Above the Turquoise Wonderland’ by Petr Horelek
The first place winner in the “Creatures of the Night” category went to Czech astrophotographer Petr Horelec, who captured this image of bioluminescence under the Milky Way at Soneva Jani, Maldives. find her on instagram
‘by Lily’s Whisper Ethan Su’
The first place in “International Dark Sky Places” went to Hehuan Mountain Dark Sky Park in Nantou, Taiwan. find her on instagram
,desert bloom‘ by Marcin Zajac
Taken in Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park, this image by Polish astrophotographer Marcin Zajac won first place in the “Utah Dark Skies” category. find her on instagram
‘The Sky Is Like a Dome, Covering Field’ by Wang Tianwei
Taken in Haisen Chulu, Alashan Right Banner, Inner Mongolia, this fisheye camera image earned first place in the “Connecting to the Dark” category.
The contest results follow DarkSky’s recent announcement about a new location called DarkSky Resort, which it hopes will help the growing astrotourism industry.
Astrotourism is on the rise
“Congratulations to the winners and awe-inspiring photos of this year’s Capture the Dark photography contest,” said Vicki Varela, managing director of the Utah Tourism Office. “Astrotourism and Dark Sky Messaging complement our Red Emerald Strategic Plan, which aims to uplift life in Utah through responsible tourism leadership. Preserving the dark skies helps communities establish sustainable tourism economies and our places stay strong forever.
Winners of the “Capture the Dark” contest get their images published in DarkSky’s Nightscape publication and on the DarkSky blog and social media, DarkSky membership and DarkSky and Visit Utah gear.
I wish you clear skies and wide eyes.