For the past four years, Britain's Royal Observatory has held a contest for the best astronomy photographs from around the world. Its picks for 2013, drawn from 1,200 entries, are utterly eye-popping. Here's a selection of honorees.
This incredible shot by Australia's Mark Gee won a special prize in the category of People and Space. As Gee describes "Moon Silhouettes": "People usually gather on Mount Victoria Lookout in Wellington, New Zealand, to take in the view of the surrounding city below. But on this particular day the moon rose right behind the lookout, revealing the silhouettes of the onlookers.
"This photo was shot from over 2 km (1.2 miles) away on the other side of Wellington city, on the day after the full moon. It was not just being in the right place at the right time; I had been planning for this shoot for over a year."
September 24, 2013 7:59 AM PDT
Photo by: Mark Gee
| Caption by: Tim Hornyak
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