The Andromeda galaxy lies 2 million light-years from Earth, but it looks close enough to touch in an image that took home the top prize in the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 competition.

French photographer Nicolas Lefaudeux used a technique called tilt-shift — positioning a camera’s lens in a way that manipulates the depth of field in an image — to bring our closest neighboring galaxy closer still. His photo blurs the foreground and background while leaving the center sharply in focus, making the galaxy appear startlingly close, almost as though the observer could reach into the photo and grab it.  

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