Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013, Royal Observatory Greenwich

After living in London a few years it’s likely you’ll do your best to avoid places popular with the masses, preferring to spend your weekend off the beaten track fulfilling your Londoner credentials. It’s usually where I prefer to be, but I have to admit there are still so many popular places I haven’t done and I can’t resist the lure of iconic views and landmarks.

 

As last weekend was my 4th anniversary of being a Londoner I decided to go back to the first area I lived in, Greenwich. My aim the Royal Observatory for the Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition.

As you probably know the Observatory is home to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)…

Greenwich-Park---GMT

So you’ll find the crowds around a stone plaque, or up above the grounds to get their shot of the city.

As with many popular tourist spots in London I’ve always assumed the Royal Observatory attracts a high ticket price and is constantly overflowing with people, so I was pleased to discover that the exhibition was free and when I walked through the entrance (at about 3pm-ish) it was quite peaceful.

Royal-Observatory---Astronomy-Photographer-of-the-Year

There are some lovely views across the park from up here too.

Follow the signs and you’ll find the modern Planetarium alongside the historic site of the Weller Astronomy Gallery.

Greenwich-Park---Royal-Observatory-2

One of the best things about exploring this city is seeing beautiful old building like this.

Greenwich-Park---Royal-Observatory-3

Go down stairs and you’ll discover the exhibition. A small collection of the winning images from the annual competition to find the finest astronomy photographers in the world.  From the seven categories judged you’ll discover images taken of the sky, the solar system and deep into space.

I truly never realised you could capture pictures like this without being a scientist in an observatory like the one on site here. It certainly made me put my photography skills further down the amateur scale. To take these pictures it was clear you needed to have the  knowledge of and a passion for the universe and beyond.  Reading through the categories reminded me childhood science lessons and how much I can no longer recall from the top of my head. Can you still name all the planets in the Solar System?

This was by far my favourite image of the exhibition.

Moon-Silhouttes---Mark-Gill

Moon Silhouettes by Mark Gee. An image taken 2km away of people gathering on the Mount Victoria Lookout in Wellington, New Zealand, the day after a full moon.

It takes no more than 30 minutes to read and absorb the exhibition (depending how much you like to take in). If you like what you see there’s an official Flickr group of astronomy photographers here.

Before I headed back to the South-West I decided to join the city view paparazzi.

Greenwich-Park---photographers

To get another pretty shot for my collection.

Greenwich-Park---View

Quite a different image to the one I took at the end of last summer!

The exhibition is open 9am- 5pm all week and it ends on 23 February 2014, so if you’re concerned about a full festive season ahead there’s plenty of time!

Have you been to the Royal Observatory? Do you have a favourite popular place in London or one you’d still like to visit?