The Best Astronomy Photos of the Year

After receiving over 800 entries from astronomers and astrophotographers from all over the world, the winning photographs from the 2012 Astronomy Photographer of the Year Competition were announced, and they will blow you away.

The competition was hosted by Royal Museums Greenwich, who asked people to submit photographs in the categories of ‘Earth and Space’, ‘Our Solar System’, ‘Deep Space’ and ‘Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year’. The selection below includes the winners in each category as well as some of our favourite picks.

Deep Space Winner: M51 – The Whirlpool Galaxy by Martin Pugh (UK/Australia) astronomy photography (3)

Earth Space Winner: Star Icefall by Masahiro Miyasaka (Japan)astronomy photography (2)

Best Newcomer Winner: Elephant’s Trunk with Ananas by Lóránd Fényes (Hungary)astronomy photography (4)

People and Space Winner: Venus-Jupiter Close Conjunction, by Laurent Laveder (France)astronomy photography (1)

Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year Winner: Pleiades Cluster by Jacob von Chorus (Canada), aged 15astronomy photography (5)

Our Solar System Winner: Transit of Venus 2012 in Hydrogen-Alpha by Chris Warren (UK)astronomy photography

Deep Space Highly Commended: NGC 6960 – The Witch’s Broom by Robert Franke (USA)astronomy photography

Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year Highly Commended: Heavenly Showers by Jathin Premjith (India), aged 15astronomy photography

Earth Space Runner-up: Green World by Arild Heitmann (Norway)earth space photography