Some of the Southern Hemisphere's finest astrophotography is on show at Scienceworks, Victoria Museum until April 4. Winning Sky Photos is an exhibition of the top entries of the David Malin Award which was presented last summer at the Central West Astronomical Society festival by the pioneering astronomical photographer himself.
David Malin is currently Adjunct Professor of Scientific Photography at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and much of his work has been carried out as Photographic Scientist at the Anglo-Australian Observatory, New South Wales. Winner of the prestigious Lennart Nilsson Prize, which recognises extraordinary scientific image makers, he has played a key role in the development of astrophotography whilst working with some of the world's finest optical telescopes. His research into capturing space on three separate colour negative plates (red, green and blue light sensitive), subsequently putting them together to form one full-colour image, have revolutionised the understanding of the universe. Malin's images of star clusters, galaxies, nebulae and other such spectacular phenomena feature in his book Ancient Light: A portrait of the Universe.
Malin holds the competition annually in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney and invites photographers from across Australia to enter their photographs in six categories - including an animated sequence category - judging them on aesthetic beauty and technical skill. The photographs take in all parts of the sky, from that which can be seen with the naked eye as in Peter Ward's image of the moonlit Uluru, to far off galaxies such as the Orion Nebula by Paul Haese. The overall winning photograph by Geoffrey Wyatt is of the crescent moon above the instantly recognisable curves of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.