Stunning Images From Astronomy Photographer Of The Year Awards Are Guaranteed To Inspire Wonder

Prepare to be blown away.

There’s nothing like staring up at the majestic night’s sky to gain a little perspective about life here on planet Earth – it’s a popular pastime.

This year, the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition received more than 4,600 entries from 90 countries. The result: a set of spectacularly, awe-inspiring images.

Check out some of our favourite award winners below, or visit the National Maritime Museum to enjoy an exhibition of all category winners, runners-up and highly commended images – plus an additional 68 shortlisted photographs.

The Watcher by&nbsp;Nicolai Br&uuml;gger.<br /><br />The photographer hiked in the snow to the top of the mountain Offers&oslash;ykammen in Norway to witness and capture the breathtaking giant aurora over the Lofoten Islands. He waited many hours and after midnight, the bright Northern Lights finally appeared.&nbsp;
The Watcher by Nicolai Brügger.

The photographer hiked in the snow to the top of the mountain Offersøykammen in Norway to witness and capture the breathtaking giant aurora over the Lofoten Islands. He waited many hours and after midnight, the bright Northern Lights finally appeared. 
Ben, Floyd &amp; the Core, by Ben Bush.<br /><br />The image depicts the photographer and his dog, Floyd, surrounded by Mars, Saturn and the galactic core of the Milky Way galaxy. As his constant companions, the photographer often tries (and fails) to capture his dogs at night. With this shot the shutter speed was reduced to 10 seconds to allow to keep Floyd still &ndash; the photographer whispered &lsquo;don't move, don't move, don't move&rsquo; to Floyd for the whole 10 seconds.&nbsp;
Ben, Floyd & the Core, by Ben Bush.

The image depicts the photographer and his dog, Floyd, surrounded by Mars, Saturn and the galactic core of the Milky Way galaxy. As his constant companions, the photographer often tries (and fails) to capture his dogs at night. With this shot the shutter speed was reduced to 10 seconds to allow to keep Floyd still – the photographer whispered ‘don't move, don't move, don't move’ to Floyd for the whole 10 seconds. 
Sky and Ground, Stars and Sand, by Shuchang Dong.<br /><br />The Moon was shining bright over the sand dunes in north-central China, when the photographer decided to capture this image with a friend. After enjoying a sunset and the rise of the Moon, they began to take photos of the magnificent starry sky.
Sky and Ground, Stars and Sand, by Shuchang Dong.

The Moon was shining bright over the sand dunes in north-central China, when the photographer decided to capture this image with a friend. After enjoying a sunset and the rise of the Moon, they began to take photos of the magnificent starry sky.
Shells of Elliptical Galaxy NGC 3923 in Hydra, Rolf Wahl Olsen.<br /><br />This is a deep image of the peculiar, elliptical galaxy NGC 3923. The galaxy features myriad concentric shells as a result of past mergers with other nearby galaxies. A prominent stream of stars extends towards the lower right, terminating abruptly in a shell-like fragment.
Shells of Elliptical Galaxy NGC 3923 in Hydra, Rolf Wahl Olsen.

This is a deep image of the peculiar, elliptical galaxy NGC 3923. The galaxy features myriad concentric shells as a result of past mergers with other nearby galaxies. A prominent stream of stars extends towards the lower right, terminating abruptly in a shell-like fragment.
Aurora Australis from Beerbarrel Beach, by James Stone.<br /><br />A brightly coloured display of the Southern Lights beams high into the night sky on the east coast of Tasmania. The Large Magellanic Cloud also appears at the top centre of the image. Deserted beaches and minimal light pollution make Tasmania an ideal place to photograph the night sky, even more so when the aurora comes out to play.
Aurora Australis from Beerbarrel Beach, by James Stone.

A brightly coloured display of the Southern Lights beams high into the night sky on the east coast of Tasmania. The Large Magellanic Cloud also appears at the top centre of the image. Deserted beaches and minimal light pollution make Tasmania an ideal place to photograph the night sky, even more so when the aurora comes out to play.
Death of Opportunity, Andy Casely.<br /><br />This is a sequence of images through the perihelic opposition of Mars in 2018 that follows the progress of the great global dust storm, which proved to be detrimental for the Opportunity Mars rover, which exceeded its planned lifespan by 14 years.&nbsp;
Death of Opportunity, Andy Casely.

This is a sequence of images through the perihelic opposition of Mars in 2018 that follows the progress of the great global dust storm, which proved to be detrimental for the Opportunity Mars rover, which exceeded its planned lifespan by 14 years. 
Above the Tower, Sam King.<br /><br />The International Space Station (ISS) is flying over Horton Tower in Dorset on a misty evening. The tower is believed to have been built with the intention of being used as an observatory. During the two exposures shot for the sky, the photographer was able to perfectly capture the ISS fly directly over the tower. Although the mist didn't help with capturing the finer details of the core, it did add mystery to the final image, as did the tower&rsquo;s lights.&nbsp;
Above the Tower, Sam King.

The International Space Station (ISS) is flying over Horton Tower in Dorset on a misty evening. The tower is believed to have been built with the intention of being used as an observatory. During the two exposures shot for the sky, the photographer was able to perfectly capture the ISS fly directly over the tower. Although the mist didn't help with capturing the finer details of the core, it did add mystery to the final image, as did the tower’s lights. 
Infrared Saturn, by L&aacute;szl&oacute; Francsics.<br /><br />With this image, the photographer decided to take on the challenge of revealing the very near infrared colours of Saturn.&nbsp;
Infrared Saturn, by László Francsics.

With this image, the photographer decided to take on the challenge of revealing the very near infrared colours of Saturn. 
Statue of Liberty Nebula, by Ignacio Diaz Bobillo.<br /><br />These are two nebula complexes, far apart from one another. The one on the right, NGC 3576, is closer to Earth, and its shape provides the title of this image.&nbsp;
Statue of Liberty Nebula, by Ignacio Diaz Bobillo.

These are two nebula complexes, far apart from one another. The one on the right, NGC 3576, is closer to Earth, and its shape provides the title of this image. 
Stellar Flower, by Davy van der Hoeven.<br /><br />Once the 11-year-old photographer decided to capture a deep sky image, he started researching online for nebulae and came across the magnificent Rosette Nebula. With the help of his father he built the equipment and together, over three nights in November, captured images images of the Rosette Nebula using different filters.&nbsp;
Stellar Flower, by Davy van der Hoeven.

Once the 11-year-old photographer decided to capture a deep sky image, he started researching online for nebulae and came across the magnificent Rosette Nebula. With the help of his father he built the equipment and together, over three nights in November, captured images images of the Rosette Nebula using different filters. 

The Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition at the National Maritime Museum is open to the public from 13 September 2019. You can buy tickets here.