A FORMER Dudley resident and a talented astrophotographer has been named Royal Observatory Astronomy Photographer of the Year for an unprecedented second time.

Martin Pugh, who now lives on the other side of the world in Canberra, Australia, was announced as the winner as the Royal Observatory in Greenwich for his image of the M51 Whirlpool Galaxy, which beat more than 800 entries from around the globe to win the Deep Space and overall prize in the competition.

Mr Pugh, a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Australian Navy, said it was incredible to win for the second time, after previously triumphing in 2009.

LCDR Pugh said: “It’s an international competition, with a panel of expert judges including the renown late UK astronomer Sir Patrick Moore and they take all sorts of information into consideration when judging; picture composition, technical/colour accuracy, and processing techniques as well.

“The standard of entries is phenomenal, so to win it twice is absolutely amazing”

LCDR Pugh, who left the Black Country and transferred from the Royal Navy in 2004, works as a tactical data links project manager at the Australian Department of Defence Headquarters in Canberra.

Using his electronics knowledge he has built two state-of-the-art observatories including one outside his Canberra home, while the other is in California which he controls remotely with his iPad in Australia.