NWT man shortlisted for international astrophysicist competition


A man from Yellowknife is gaining international recognition for his photo that captures a stunning display of dancing green aurora lights over the Cameron River.

Frank Bailey is the only Canadian to be a finalist for the Royal Observatory’s Astronomical Photographer of the Year 2022 competition. His time-lapse photo taken outside the capital of the Northwest Territories earned him runner-up in the Aurorae category.

“Of course I am delighted, but also very humbled by the news about the quality of this year’s entries,” he said. “Once the overall rankings were fully released, people really quickly realized that this was a significant achievement and showed that I was on the right track with my photography work.”

The annual contest is the largest of its kind and showcases space and sky photographs from astrophysicists around the world. More than 100 of this year’s winning and shortlisted images are now on display at the National Maritime Museum in London, featuring planets, galaxies, the sky and other celestial bodies.

Gerald Rhemann from Austria was named the overall winner for this image of Comet C/2021 A1, commonly known as Comet Leonard.

First place in the Aurora category goes to Filip Hrebenda with a photo titled “In the Embrace of a Green Lady”, which shows light reflected in a frozen lake on the Eystrahorn mountain in Hvalnes, Iceland.

Bailey’s photo, titled “Misty Green River,” was taken last September with a 15-second exposure. He said the photo was taken while looking up the river towards the ripples as the fog rose above the water.

Bailey, who has lived in Yellowknife for 18 years, said he first photographed the aurora when he and his wife, Karen, lived in the Yukon in the early 1980s.

He says he loves entering contests to get feedback on his photography.

“For future goals, I always say it would be a good retirement job,” he says, noting that he and his wife have already started creating marketable products like calendars and produce prints for friends and family.

Another photo Bailey of the aurora borealis over the Cameron River, which he submitted to the National Wildlife Federation’s photo contest in 2020, was selected for use in the holiday card collection.

He said three of his aurora photos have received bronze from the Epson International Panorama Award in 2021.

This Canadian Press report was first published on September 24, 2022.

This story was made possible with the financial support of Meta and the Canada Press News Fellowship.

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