M63: Star Streams and the Sunflower Galaxy – Galaxies Winner
A bright, spiral galaxy, Messier 63 looks like a star necklace in which the stars have crashed outwards from the galaxy’s centre, producing this fantastic long train. The ghostly star arcs of the Sunflower galaxy had long been an elusive target for the photographer, but upon deciding to take the image in one of the darkest places in Europe – the Rozhen Observatory in the Rhodopes Mountains, Bulgaria – he successfully captured the astronomical object. Despite a warm winter and an early spring, there were snow drifts more than one metre high and it took a lot of effort to break through them, but the photographer prevailed, and captured the glittering galaxy in the unbelievably dark and crystal clear of Rhozen.
Rozhen Observatory, Smolyan Province, Bulgaria, April 6, 2016