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Astronomy Photographer Of The Year 2015 Images Are Out Of This World

09/07/2015 14:21 BST | Updated 09/07/2015 19:59 BST

Stunning celestial views of the Milky Way, Northern Lights, and comets hurtling through space are just some of the incredible images to have made the shortlist for the 2015 Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

The competition, which is run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with Insight Investment and BBC Sky at Night Magazine, is now in its seventh year and continues to go from strength to strength, receiving a record number of over 2700 spectacular entries from enthusiastic amateurs and professional photographers from over 60 countries spanning the globe.

astronomy photographer of the year Michael Jaeger captures incredible shot of the Comet Lovejoy sailing through the solar system

Shortlisted images from this year’s entrants include the astonishing view of a meteor piercing through darkness as the Milky Way towers above the 4,392m peak of Mount Rainier in Washington, USA, the phenomenal natural light show of a lightning storm emanating from below ominous storm clouds juxtaposed with the gleaming stars of our galaxy above them, and an enthralled stargazer immersed in the stars as the luminous purple sky is mirrored in the thin sheet of water across the world’s largest salt flat, Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia.

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The competition’s judges include renowned comedian and keen amateur astronomer Jon Culshaw, Editor of Sky at Night Magazine Chris Bramley and the Royal Observatory’s Public Astronomer Dr Marek Kukula. The winners of the newly expanded competition’s nine categories and two special prizes will be announced on 17 September at a special award ceremony at the Royal Observatory. The winning images will be displayed in a free of charge exhibition at the Observatory’s Astronomy Centre from the following day.

See competition details below...

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 Shortlisted Images

Competition Categories:

Overall winner – Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015

Skyscapes sponsored by Insight Investment: Landscape and cityscape images of twilight and the night sky featuring the Milky Way, star trails, meteor showers, comets, conjunctions, constellation rises, halos and noctilucent clouds alongside elements of earthly scenery.

Aurorae: Photographs featuring auroral activity.

People and Space: Photographs of the night sky including people or a human interest element.

Our Sun: Solar images including solar eclipses and transits.

Our Moon: Lunar images including lunar eclipses and occultation of planets.

Planets, Comets and Asteroids: Everything else in our solar system, including planets and their satellites, comets, asteroids and other forms of zodiacal debris.

Stars and Nebulae: Deep space objects within the Milky Way galaxy, including stars, star clusters, supernova remnants, nebulae and other intergalactic phenomena.

Galaxies: Deep space objects beyond the Milky Way galaxy, including galaxies, galaxy clusters, and stellar associations.

Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year: Pictures taken by budding astronomers under the age of 16 years old.

The judges will also award two special prizes:

The Sir Patrick Moore prize for Best Newcomer: Photos taken by people who have taken up the hobby in the last year and have not entered an image into the competition before. The judges will give special consideration to those using simple and inexpensive start-out kit.

Robotic Scope Image of the Year: Photos taken using one of the increasing number of computer-controlled telescopes at prime observing sites around the world which can be accessed over the internet by members of the public.

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 Shortlisted Images