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20/09/2012 06:14 BST | Updated 20/11/2012 05:12 GMT

Astronomy Photographer Of The Year 2012: Winning Images Revealed (PICTURES)

The winners for this year's Astronomy Photographer Of The Year competition at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich have been revealed.

The photos show some of the universe's most spectacular sights, from far-off galaxies to nearby planets and suns.

The overall winner was Martin Pugh, whose photograph of the M51 galaxy was judged the finest image in the Deep Space shortlist.

Pugh was also the overall winner of the prize in 2009.

Astronomer Will Gater said of Pugh's photo: "It's arguably one of the finest images of M51 ever taken by an amateur astronomer".

Photo gallery Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012 See Gallery

The competition's judges included BBC The Sky at Night's Sir Patrick Moore, acclaimed photographer Dan Holdsworth and the Royal Observatory's Public Astronomer Dr. Marek Kukula.

All entries to the competition were submitted to a Flickr group and range from experienced amateurs to those newer to the pastime.

An exhibition of all the winners opens on Thursday at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.