Space. The final frontier. It's a breathtaking juggernaut of discovery that lies just out of the reach of we normal humans. But the shortlisted entries for this year’s Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year award bring us that little bit closer.
So from the startlingly clear surface of Venus to incredible long exposure starscapes, sit back and scroll through these awe-inspiring images.
ABOVE THE WORLD
Taken from Sefton Bivouac, the oldest hut in Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand, star trails spiral over the majestic mountains of the park and the seemingly peaceful village below
Credit Lee Cook
With temperatures close to -15 degrees, it’s not surprising that the photographer was the only soul in the vicinity of Plateau Hut in Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand. The lonely hut, dwarfed by the snowy mountains of the park, contrasts with the abundance of star trails seemingly encircling the peaks of the Anzac
Credit Lee Cook
ANTARCTIC SPACE STATION
A view of the Halley 6 Research Station situated on the Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica, which is believed to be the closest thing you can get to living in space without leaving Earth, making it perfect to be used for research by the European Space Agency. As the Sun’s light dissipates into the horizon, the aurora can be seen swirling overhead
Credit Richard Inman
The vivid green Northern Lights resemble a bird soaring over open water in Olderdalen, Norway
Credit Jan R Olsen
The Universe puts on its very own light show to see in the New Year on 1 January 2016, as the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights, arcs over Nugget Point on the South Otago coast of New Zealand
Credit Stephen Voss
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
Credit Rick Whitacre
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
Credit Yuyun Wang
A mesmerising lunar halo forms around our natural satellite, the Moon, in the night sky above Norway. The halo, also known as a moon ring or winter halo, is an optical phenomenon created when moonlight is refracted in numerous ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere
Credit Tommy Richardsen
FIVE PLUS TWO
The rare opportunity of seeing five planets - Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter - gleaming in the night sky over the Alps captured on camera. On the left hand side is the Dufour peak of the MonteRosa range and on the right hand side of the frame is the instantly recognisable peak of the Matterhorn
Credit Der Mits
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 12:30am and 4:30am
Credit Brad Goldpain
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
Credit Nicholas Roemmelt
A tremendous filaprom extends from the surface of our star, the Sun. Filaproms are large, gaseous features that can be partially seem over the Sun’s disk as a filament, and they are known to reach lengths equal to 150 Earths aligned
Credit Gabriel Octavian Corban
ISS UNDER VENUS AND THE MOON
Taken from atop the Semnoz Mountain, the International Space Station arcs over the city of Annecy, France, as Venus and the Moon loom overhead
Credit Philippe Jacquot
THE JOY OF SEVEN SISTERS
Comet Lovejoy flashes through the darkness of the Solar System, passing near the open star cluster of the Pleiades or Seven Sisters. The Pleiades glow blue due to their extremely hot nature, and are the most obvious star cluster to the naked eye in the night sky
Credit José Francisco Hernández Cabrera
KING OF THE PLANETS
Looming in the night sky, tempestuous storms are visible across the face of the largest planet in our Solar System, Jupiter. The Great Red Spot - a raging storm akin to a hurricane on Earth - stands out in a deep orange from the hues of browns surrounding it
Credit Damian Peach
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
Credit Ivan Eder
M82: STARBURST GALAXY WITH A SUPERWIND
About 12 million light years away from our planet, lays the starburst galaxy M82, also known as the Cigar Galaxy. In a show of radiant red, the superwind bursts out from the galaxy, believed to be the closest place to our planet in which the conditions are similar to that of the early Universe, where a plethora of stars are forming
Credit Leonardo Orazi
JUST MISSED THE BULLSEYE
The International Space Station (ISS) appears to pierce a path across the radiant, concentric star trails seemingly spinning over the silhouettes of the trees in Harrogate, South Australia
Credit Scott Carnie-Bronca
The brilliance of the Moon illuminates the night sky, and is reflected in the expansive water of the Paraty Bay, Brazil
Credit Rafael Defavari
NORTHERN LIGHTS OVER JOKULSARLON
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
Credit Giles Rocholl
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
Credit Nicholas Roemmelt
The shadow of Manua Kea, the highest peak in the state of Hawaii, is projected by the rising sun over the volcano, Hualalai, whilst the Full Moon soars above them, higher again
Credit Sean Goebel
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
Credit Bob Franke
The often unnoticed ripples and shimmers of the Moon captured on film as it appears to rise through the sky. Here, the Moon is photographed at 98% illumination and is beginning to wane
Credit Katherine Young
SEVEN MAGIC POINTS
The rusty red swirls of the circular, iron sculpture Seven Magic Points in Brattebergan, Norway mirror the rippling aurora above
Credit Rune Engebø
The Southern Cross constellation of the Milky Way, visible in the southern sky creates a guiding light along Bucklands Lane in Central Goldfields Shire, Victoria
Credit Phil Hart
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
Credit Melanie Thorne
THE DISCONNECTION EVENT
Comet Lovejoy soars through the night sky in a green haze with an ion tail in its wake. The image shows Lovejoy appearing to lose its tail on 21 January 2015
Credit Michael Jäeger
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
Credit Ivan Slade
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
Credit Eric Toops
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