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This stunning photo of Comet Leonard won astronomy photography’s top prize

Updated Sep 20th, 2022 5:52PM EDT
comet in the starry sky
Image: Tryfonov / Adobe

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A spectacular photo of Comet Leonard has defied the odds and taken home the top prize of the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest for 2022. The photo was captured by astrophotographer Gerald Rhemann on Christmas Day of 2021 and can be seen below.

The Royal Museums of Greenwich announced the winners of the contest on September 15, during a virtual ceremony. The photo of Comet Leonard, along with the winners of 10 other categories, were announced and showcased in the video. Rhemann says that the photo is a highlight of his career as an astrophotographer. It is one of the last photos captured of Leonard before it broke apart this year.

Being able to capture such a spectacular photo of Comet Leonard just months before its demise is an achievement in and of itself. And Rhemann’s photo went up against some hard hitters in the astrophotography world. Photos of galaxies, the Sun, and other stellar bodies were all just waiting for a chance to steal the prize.

But, at the end of the day, Rhemann’s photo of Comet Leonard managed to shine brightest, the comet’s long tail showcased perfectly within the image. It’s a beautiful piece that everyone should witness for themselves. You can, of course, see it featured in the image above and check out the virtual ceremony for the other winning photographs.

Rhemann’s photo of Comet Leonard will be featured among a top category of entrants at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. The exhibit opened on September 17 and will also include the shortlisted images for the photography contest, which the museum showcased a bit back.

Now that Comet Leonard is no more, this photograph is one of the last opportunities we’ll have to appreciate the spectacular celestial event. The comet was only discovered in 2021, so seeing it gone so soon is a bit surprising, especially considering how long comets like Haley’s Comet have been making the rounds.

More space coverage: See how astronomers will look for aliens now.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.