Stars burn brightly for China in astronomy photo competition

By Julian Shea in London | China Daily | Updated: 2021-07-17 09:38
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Star Fall © Wang Zheng (China) [Photo/The Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year 13 (2021) competition/exhibition]

In the Tengger Desert, located in Minqin county, there is a mysterious group of artificial sculptures. The metal columns that point to the sky in this picture are called raindrops. By day, it falls like a raindrop in the desert, but the photographer prefers it at night under the Milky Way. After the Moon sets, the metal sculpture reflects the light of the Milky Way, making the sculpture's outline very clear. Extremely bright starlight in the desert is reflected off the metal surface like a column of light from a vast universe of stars hitting the ground. The photographer placed the camera at a very low position in the center of the sculpture, facing toward the sky.

・ Minqin county, Wuwei city, China, Aug 23, 2020

・ Canon EOS 6D Mark II camera, 14 mm f/1.8 lens, ISO 5000, 8-second exposure

Staring into space has proved to be a particularly productive use of time for five Chinese photographers after their works were among 38 images from all over the world shortlisted for the Royal Observatory's Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2021.

This year's staging of the competition run by the world-famous London observatory is the 13th, and drew more than 4,500 entries from professional and amateur photographers in 75 different countries and regions.

Star Fall, by Wang Zheng, features starlight reflected off the columns of a metal sculpture in the Tengger Desert in Gansu province, with the camera placed at ground level within the sculpture, pointing to the heavens.

Star trails over the Lujiazui City Skyline, by Daning Kai, was taken on a clear night last October, showing how even in a city suffering from heavy light pollution, the wonders of the night sky can still be appreciated.

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