10 Amazing Pictures of the World at Night

waterfall of the gods

waterfall of the gods

The World at Night’s “Earth and Sky” photo contest highlights some of the most beautiful pictures of the night sky and its epic battle with light pollution. The best images for 2013 were hand-selected out of submissions by photographers from 45 different countries. The top image this year shown above, by Stephane Vetter of France, was the first-place winner in the “Beauty of the Night Sky” category. It shows the Milky Way and aurora over Godafoss (or “Waterfall of the Gods”) in Iceland.

So how do photographers capture these amazing shots? Well, “the photographer has moved away from the city to the mountaintops in order to separate himself from the light pollution,” Tafreshi, founder of The World at Night, told NBC News in an email. “Inside the yellow light cast by the city, people are no longer able to see this beauty.” Quite the cost for city slickers living in the modern world, right? Studies show that up to 80% of the world’s population can no longer see the Milky Way, because of the overbearing illumination from urban cities and roadways! “Our images try to show how the night sky is an essential part of our environment, and not just an astronomer’s laboratory,” Tafreshi said. “They display how the night sky is becoming a forgotten part of nature for many people in urban, light-polluted areas. A major goal for us in TWAN imaging is to reclaim the beauties of the night sky and make people aware of this.” And if you’re looking for gems of the night sky, you’ve come to the right place!

Stars over Salzburg

Stars over SalzburgAndreas Max Bockle / TWAN 2013

Crossed destinies

Crossed destiniesLuc Perrot / TWAN 2013

Lake of stars

Lake of starsZach Grether / TWAN 2013

Meteor magic

Meteor magicShannon Bileski / TWAN 2013

Fire festival

Fire festivalNorbert Span / TWAN 2013

Solar storm

Solar stormFredrik Broms / TWAN 2013

Bridging the earth and sky

Bridging the earth and skyZach Grether / TWAN 2013

Tiny totality

Tiny totalityGeoff Sims / TWAN 2013

Spinning under the stars

Spinning under the starsRick Whitacre / TWAN 2013

Daniel Zeevi

By Daniel Zeevi

Daniel is a social network architect, web developer, infographic designer, writer, speaker and founder of DashBurst. Full-time futurist and part-time content curator, always on the hunt for disruptive new technology, creative art and web humor.


  1. Would love to know how Rick was able to create such a long exposure and capture the spinning stars so clearly without the light pollution just blowing everything out. Is it two images stitched together in Photoshop?

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