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IPFS News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Gallery: Our glorious galaxy stars in Milky Way photo competition

•, By Michael Irving

Earth is located in the outskirts of the Milky Way, so looking back towards the center of the disc is a bit like looking towards the city. The bustling heart of our galaxy looks like a bright swathe of stars and dust across the night sky that's inspired humans for millennia.

And that's the motivation behind the Milky Way Photographer of the Year. Travel photography blog Capture the Atlas compiles this list each year of the best images showcasing this stunning subject, set against some of the best landscapes Earth has to offer. The gallery is released in May each year, to coincide with the peak season for snapping the Milky Way from both hemispheres.

This year's list of 25 fantastic photos was whittled down from over 5,000 submissions, featuring backdrops in 15 countries: the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Egypt, Oman, Yemen and Jordan. The quality of the image is only one factor in the selection process – the judges also consider the story behind the shot, and the potential for the image to inspire other photographers to grab a camera and head out to try it for themselves.

Among this year's images is The vanity of life by Mihail Minkov. The Milky Way is beautifully framed between two cliffs in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan, guiding the eye down towards a tiny human figure on the ground. As the photographer explains, "the concept behind this shot is to highlight the stark contrast between the vastness of the cosmos and the minuscule nature of humanity… underscoring our insignificance in the grand scheme of the universe."