Cloud Competition 2021 – The Results

Our inaugural cloud competition for members generated more interest than we had imagined and so once the closing date passed the entries were split into categories.

Clicking on the images will give you a larger version.

Most accurate representation of an astronomer’s lot



Winner – Alec Alden

Highly Commended – Andy Styles

Judges’ Comments: 

A close run thing but we felt that Alec just edged ahead as there isn’t any clear sky in his photo.


Sunsets & Sunrises



Winner – Lee Butler

Runner up – Una Alexander 

Highly Commended – Ian Lauwerys

Judges’ Comments: 

Some really beautiful sunrises and sunsets and it was difficult to choose our favourites. We loved the whole composition of Lee’s photo, from the flowers in the foreground to the sun disappearing below the horizon.  Una’s sunrise gave us a completely different colour palette and it proves the early bird does indeed get the worm.  Ian’s photo was very dramatic and a reminder of summer evenings at the observatory.


The “I know what it is “ Award for cloud identification



Winner – Olaf Kirchner for Shelf Cloud over Sebastian Inlet

Runner Up –   Ian Lauwerys for Cumulus Fractus beneath Nimbostratus Praecipitatio

Highly Commended – Olaf  Kirchner for Mammatus after passage of cold front 

Judges’ Comments: 

It should not, we suppose, be surprising that a group of astronomers would have people in it who are knowledgeable about our great enemies, but the level of technical detail is still a bit of the shock. Olaf was the winner not only for the identification, but also for the striking nature of the cloud. Ian precise identification in this – and all his photos –  deserves a special mention and we loved the contrast of the dark clouds and the bright sunshine. Olaf’s “Mammatus after passage of cold front” received the Highly Commended award as we could almost hear the thunder in the distance.


The “no idea what it’s called but wow” Award



Winner – Rob Davis

Runner up – Alec Alden

Highly Commended – Andy Styles

Judges’ Comments:

When Rob submitted his photo he told us he’d never been able to identify the cloud and had even sent it to the Met Office and they’d failed too. Our resident cloud expert has now identified it as a fallstreak hole. Alec’s photo has something ethereal about it and we loved the flight of imagination in Andy’s description, proving you don’t need to know what a cloud is to enjoy it.


Storm Clouds



Winner – Matthew Barrett for Storm Clouds on 27 July

Runner up – Ian Lauwerys

Judges’ Comments:

There was so much detail in Matthew’s photo and the clouds seem to move the more you look at it. Another award to Ian’s “Cumulus Fractus beneath Nimbostratus Praecipitatio” with its strong contrast between the menacing clouds and the sun on the building.


General Clouds



Winner – Paul Faulker

Runner up – Peter Willett

Highly commended – Dean Coates

Judges’ Comments:

We have no idea what caused the cloud in Paul’s photo and it’s mystery is one of the reasons it’s the winner in this category. Peter’s photo really is ray of sunshine and bonus points for the ducks. Finally Dean’s photo didn’t have enough sun to make it into the sunrise & sunset category but the light splash of pink in the background and the slate grey of the fading mackerel clouds deserved to be highly commended.


Final Comments:

Thank you to everyone who took the time to hunt through their photos and send them in. Some stunning photos, and really it’s prizes all round for finding joy in the scourge of astronomers everywhere.

Clare & Martin

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