This shortlist for the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2017 competition has been released, and the images are truly spectacular.
The competition, which is now in its ninth year, is run by the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, UK. This year's contest received nearly 4,000 entries from amateur and professional photographers. The images range from beautiful shots of the Northern Lights to astonishing time-lapse photos of the Jellyfish Nebula.
Below are some of our favorites from the shortlisted photographs.
This photo shows the Milky Way rising above a small radio telescope from a large array at Miyun Station. The image shows the contrast between the sky above the city – glowing with light pollution – and the stars directly above the telescope.
This is nebula NGC 2023. You might vaguely recognize it, as it's usually included in photographs of the Horsehead Nebula. The NGC 2023 nebula is 1,467 light-years away from Earth and 4 light-years across in diameter. Partner Steve Mazlin is the lead processor for this one.
A snowy peak on Castell-Y-Gwynt (Castle of the Winds) in Glyder Fach Mountains in Snowdonia, North Wales. The landscape was formed via a process called freeze-thaw weathering, in which the water seeps into the cracks in the rocks, freezes, and then expands, which can cause the rock to split and crack over hundreds and thousands of years.
A dramatic photo showing a "hedgerow prominence" that extends from the Sun, the plasma being pushed and pulled by unstable magnetic fields. NASA calls them hedgerow prominences because "they look somewhat like a hedge of bushes".
An amateur astronomer took this photo of the Aurora Borealis as it swirled above the snowy trees in Murmansk, Russia.
The Sun is photographed in Calcium-K light, showing the star’s inner chromosphere. In negative, the suface shows up as darker than the sunspots, which glow brightly on the Sun's surface.
Using long exposure, this photographer was able to capture the north celestial pole and the sky moving anti-clockwise around it.
NGC 7331 is a spiral galaxy 40 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Pegasus. The smaller galaxies above it are NGC 7335, NGC 7336, NGC 7337, NGC 7338, and NGC 7340.
A photo of the night sky taken through the entrance to a glacier in Engadin, Switzerland. To get a photo that lit the man and the night sky correctly, the photographer combined two panoramas taken with different exposures.
This reminant of a galactic supernova has been nicknamed the "Jellyfish Nebula" due to its resemblence to a jellyfish. It's the remains of a star that could have exploded as many as 30,000 years ago.
The winners of the competition will be announced on September 14, 2017, at an award ceremony at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. The winning photographs will be displayed in a free exhibition from September 16.