Check out these beautiful space shots by
Martin Pugh, the Astronomy Photographer
of the Year 2009.

His image of the Horsehead Nebula in Orion (below, top)
was awarded first prize in the competition run by
the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

The winning entry was taken over a period of 19 hours,
over 14 nights, in a period of two months of a
subject 1,500 light years away.

"However, it was my picture which won third prize of the
Galactic Dust in Corona Australia (above, bottom)
that I am most proud of," says Martin. "That is
my most technically correct photograph. It's
comprised of 180 photos, over 39 hours and
was shot over a period of three months."

Beginning his astrophotography in 1999 with a relatively
inexpensive £3,000 set of telescope and camera,
Martin has now graduated to a £20,000 set of
equipment that enables him to
compete with the best.

The majority of his shots were taken from the middle
of 2005 to late 2008, when Martin lived in Canberr
Australia after transferring from the Royal Navy
to the Royal Australian Navy.

"I utilised the clear skies of my Australian home
and even built a mini observatory out of a
converted shed," explains Martin.

Martin's work is appearing on an Australian stamp
which was released late last month. "This year is the
International Year of Photography and the Australian
Post Office
issued three stamps to commemorate
that," says Martin. "I was one of those
three and the only amateur."

Also, staying on the subject of space images check
out these shots taken from the
Hubble Space Telescope.

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