The stellar and the sacred

The hunt is on for the world’s best astronomy photographs.

Stars over Mongolian Ovoos.
Stars over Mongolian Ovoos.
Qiqige Zhao

This extraordinary time-lapse photograph, showing the night sky above sacred Mongolian stone heaps known as Ovoos, is one of several dozen that have made it to the shortlist of the UK Royal Observatory’s Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2018 competition.

The shot, taken by photographer Qiqige Zhao, is one of a staggering 4200 entries from 90 countries submitted to the competition, which was open to both amateur and professional snappers.

The shortlisted images will now be judged by a panel that includes British comedian and amateur astronomer, Jon Culshaw; the editor of BBC Sky at Night Magazine, Chris Bramley; and the Royal Observatory’s Public Astronomer, Marek Kukula.

Winners will be announced on October 23, with the best entries mounted in an exhibition at the observatory, and compiled in a hardcover book to be released the following day.

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