Gorgeous galaxies and stunning stars make up this selection of pictures from the shortlisted entries for this year’s 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 eighth year.
The winners will be announced on September 15, and an exhibition of the winning images will be displayed in a free exhibition at the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Astronomy Centre from September 17.
Please click on the photos to view hi-resolution images.
A fork, a spoon and a moon
A Royal Spoonbill sits atop of a branch basking in the glow of the nearly full moon in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Photograph: Andrew Caldwell/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016
Seven Magic Points
The rusty red swirls of the circular, iron sculpture Seven Magic Points in Brattebergan, Norway mirror the rippling aurora above. Photograph: Rune Engebø/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016
The luminous tangle of filaments of Pickering’s Triangle intertwines through the night sky. Located in the Veil Nebula, it is one of the main visual elements of a supernova remnant, whose source exploded around 8,000 years ago. Photograph: Bob Franke/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016
Northern Lights over Jokulsarlon, Iceland
A couple takes in the awe-inspiring sight of the Northern Lights streaking across the night sky over the lagoon at Jokulsarlon, Iceland on Valentine’s night of 2016. Photograph: Giles Rocholl/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016
M8: Lagoon Nebula
New stars are formed in the undulating clouds of M8, also commonly referred to as the Lagoon Nebula, situated some 5,000 light years from our planet. Photograph: Ivan Eder/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016
The Perseid Meteor Shower shoots across the sky in the early hours of August 13, 2015, appearing to cascade from Mount Shasta in California, USA. The composite image features roughly 65 meteors captured by the photographer between 12:30 am and 4:30 am. Photograph: Brad Goldpaint/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016
The celestial curve of the Milky Way joins with the light of a stargazer’s headlamp to form a monumental arch over the Cimon della Pella in the heart of the Dolomites mountain range in northeastern Italy. Photograph: Nicholas Roemmelt/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016
With very little light pollution, the glimmering stars of the Milky Way bathe the colourful layers of the Painted Hills of Oregon in a natural glow. Photograph: Nicholas Roemmelt/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016
The natural light of the Milky Way battles with the light pollution over the fishing village, or kelong, in Batu Pahat, Malaysia. In the lower right hand corner, there is also bioluminescence in the waters at the bottom of the kelong. Photograph: Yuyun Wang/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016
Between the Rocks
Our galaxy, the Milky Way, stretches across the night sky between two of the imposing rocks at Pfeiffer State Beach, near Big Sur, California. Photograph: Rick Whitacre/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016
The vivid green Northern Lights resemble a bird soaring over open water in Olderdalen, Norway. Photograph: Jan R Olsen/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016
During the seldom-seen alignment of the five planets in February 2016, Venus, Mercury and the Milky Way rose an hour before sunrise, and appear to be fleeing its early glow, overlooking Turrimeta Beach, Australia. Photograph: Ivan Slade/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016
Wall of Plasma
A searing solar prominence extends outwards from the surface of the Sun. The ‘wall of plasma’ is the height of three times the Earth’s diameter. Photograph: Eric Toops/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016
The brilliance of the Moon illuminates the night sky, and is reflected in the expansive water of the Paraty Bay, Brazil. Photograph: Rafael Defavari/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016
The Diamond Ring
The dramatic moment that our star, the Sun, appears to be cloaked in darkness by the Moon during the Total Solar Eclipse of 9th March 2016 in Indonesia. The Sun peers out from behind the Moon and resembles the shape of a diamond ring, caused by the rugged edge of the Moon allowing some beads of sunlight to shine through in certain places. Photograph: Melanie Thorne/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016