The winner of a competition to find the worldu2019s top astronomy photographer has been named.

Australia-based photographer Martin Pugh landed the overall title for the second time in three years, pocketing the £1,500 top prize.

His winning shot depicts the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51).

Competition judge Marek Kukula said: ‘The photographer has made the most of exceptionally good atmospheric conditions to capture an astonishing range of detail in his image of this iconic galaxy; the beautiful spiral structure, dark lanes of dust, and the way the pink clouds of hydrogen really stand out…’

Commenting on this year’s contest, famed-astronomer Sir Patrick Moore, also one of the judges, said: ‘Many of the pictures have been taken with equipment that was out of the range of the amateur many years ago.’

The best shots are on show at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich until 5 February 2013.

Picture: © Martin Pugh