Variously described as “wonders of the cosmos” and “the best space porn of the year”, Astronomy Photographer of the Year is an annual competition and exhibition at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Launched in 2009, it was the Museum’s first online community for amateur astronomers. Each year the programme continues to grow: in 2013 over 1,200 competition entries were submitted from photographers all over the world and the online community has almost 4,000 members who have shared over 15,000 photos.
The website was recognised at both the 2009 Muse Awards and the Best of the Web awards at the Museums and the Web conference 2009, and I co-authored a paper for Museums and the Web 2010, Flickr as Platform: Astronomy Photographer of the Year.
Astronomy Photographer of the Year film profile by Lonelyleap
Introducing Astrotags film by Mike Paterson and Jim Le Fevre
In response to the ongoing success of the programme, there is now an annual hardback collection of photographs, published by Collins, and I programmed a large-scale special exhibition of astronomy images, Visions of the Universe, which opened at the Museum in 2013 and was described by Jonathan Jones, art critic for The Guardian, as “the most beautiful and significant exhibition I have seen in ages.”
The website and exhibition were developed in-house at the Royal Observatory by the exhibitions, digital media, marketing and science teams, in collaboration with Flickr and BBC Sky at Night magazine.
My role? I was part of the core team that developed the integrated programme and I oversaw my department’s annual contribution to the project.