Competition Highlights Importance of Dark Skies

Winners of the International Earth and Sky Photo Contest on Dark Skies Importance were announced last week by The World At Night (TWAN) and Dark Skies Awareness. Submissions to the contest had been received during the second half of International year of Astronomy 2009. Submitted photographs were all taken during the year of astronomy and were all created in the "TWAN style"-showing both the Earth and the sky-by combining elements of the night sky set against the Earth horizon with backdrop of a notable location or landmark. This style of photography is called "landscape astrophotography."

The contest was open to anyone of any age, anywhere around the world. About 200 entries were received from over 30 countries including Algeria, Armenia, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Croatia, France, Greece, Iceland, Indonesia, India, Iran, Italy, Macedonia, Nepal, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, and USA. Nearly 30% of the entries were from the United States. Other major contributors were Romania, Iran, and Poland.

According to the contest theme of "Dark Skies Importance," the submitted photos were judged in two categories: "Beauty of the Night Sky" and "Against the Lights." The selected images are those most effective in impressing people on both how important and amazing the starry sky is and how it affects our lives, and also how bad the problem of light pollution has become. Today, most city skies have become virtually empty of stars. Light pollution obscures the stars, interferes with astronomical observatories and, like any other form of pollution, disrupts ecosystems and has adverse health effects.

For more on the contest, including the winners, prizes and the winning images see the full article on the TWAN web site.


Overall winner and first place, Against the Lights category
“Temple Night” by Chris Kotsiopoulos (Greece), a panoramic view from the Poseidon temple in Cape Sounion of Greece



First place, Beauty of the Night Sky category
“Full Moon Rainbow” by Tony Rowell (USA), a view of Yosemite Falls in California, USA on a moonlit night