Milky Way photographer of the year 2021 – in pictures

‘If you’ve never seen the Southern Sky, it’s significantly different and truly amazing. In the northern hemisphere, we use Polaris as the polar star, but below the equator, there are other rules. To easily recognise the south celestial pole, the best indicator is the Southern Cross constellation, located in the image just above the Villarrica volcano. This cross points to the south celestial pole and it’s easy to identify, considering the brightness of the stars. Within the cross, we can see the dark area called “the Coalsack”, which is also visible to the naked eye. It’s one of the best-known dark nebulae in the sky. In the upper left corner, there’s another night sky gem: the red-coloured Carina Nebula. This is also only visible in the southern hemisphere and, even though it’s visible to the naked eye, with a pair of binoculars, we can see all the beautiful details’ Photograph: Tomas Slovinsky/Milky Way photographer of the year

The annual Milky Way photographer of the year competition features the best photos of our galaxy as selected by Capture the Atlas. This year’s images were taken from around the world by 25 photographers of 14 different nationalities. The best time to see and photograph the Milky Way is usually between May and June with maximum hours of visibility on both

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