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Jupiter Takes The Crown In Royal Observatory Photo Contest

Although photographer Damian Peach probably appreciates the blue skies and clear waters and palm trees and beautiful things Barbados has to offer, what he cares about most is what happens when the sun goes down.

"Whilst a lovely holiday destination," Peach writes in an email, "it also benefits from extremely stable skies — something vital to acquiring very sharp and detailed planetary photographs."

Jupiter with Io and Ganymede Damian Peach /Royal Observatory Greenwich hide caption

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Damian Peach /Royal Observatory Greenwich

Jupiter with Io and Ganymede

Damian Peach /Royal Observatory Greenwich

As an amateur astronomy photographer, he has been traveling to the island country since 2005 to document the planets. And a recent trip, dedicated solely to Jupiter, earned him the title "Astronomy Photographer of the Year" in a photo contest run by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

Peach's winning photo shows Jupiter and two of its 64 known moons, Io and Ganymede. One of the judges, Dr. Mark Kukula, is quoted by the Observatory as saying: "There were so many beautiful images this year but this one really stood out for me. It looks like a Hubble picture."

It was no easy feat. Peach writes that it took a four-hour session at the telescope to get the image. Here are a few more photos from the contest; more are on Flickr.