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50 Pictures That Will Make You Realise How Small You Really Are

With a prize of £10,000, judges carefully selected images in each category for this year's Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016.

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Overall Winner – Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016

Aurora Winner

Aurora Runner-up

Galaxies Winner

Galaxies Runner-Up

Planets, Comets, and Asteroids Winner

Planets, Comets, and Asteroids Runner-Up

Our Sun Runner Up

Our Sun Highly Commended

Our Moon Winner

Our Moon Runner-Up

Young Astronomy Photographer Winner

Young Astronomy Photographer Runner-Up

Best Newcomer Winner

Robotic Scope Winner

Stars and Nebulae Winner

Stars and Nebulae Runner-Up

Skyscapes Winner

Skyscapes Runner-Up

People and Space Winner

People and Space Runner-Up

Shortlisted Images

"A Fork, a Spoon and a Moon"

Andrew Caldwell, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

A royal spoonbill sits atop of a branch basking in the glow of the nearly full moon in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.

"Above the World"

Lee Cook, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"Alone"

Lee Cook, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"Antarctic Space Station"

Richard Inman, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"Auroral Nuggets"

Stephen Voss, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"Between the Rocks"

Rick Whitacre, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, stretches across the night sky between two of the imposing rocks at Pfeiffer State Beach, near Big Sur, California.

"Crystal Brilliance"

Tommy Richardsen, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"Celestial Veil"

Yuyun Wang, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"Five Plus Two"

Der Mits, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"Flash Point"

Brad Goldpaint, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

The Perseid Meteor Shower shoots across the sky in the early hours of 13 August 2015, appearing to cascade from Mount Shasta in California. The composite image features roughly 65 meteors captured by the photographer between 12:30am and 4:30am.

"Frozen Giant"

Nicholas Roemmelt, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"ISS under Venus and the Moon"

Philippe Jacquot, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

Taken from atop the Semnoz Mountain, the International Space Station arcs over the city of Annecy, France, as Venus and the moon loom overhead.

"Just Missed the Bullseye"

Scott Carnie-Bronca, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"King of the Planets"

Damian Peach, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"M8: Lagoon Nebula"

Ivan Eder, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"M82: Starburst Galaxy with a Superwind"

Leonardo Orazi, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

About 12 million light years away from our planet lies 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.

"Moon Reflection"

Rafael Defavari, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

The brilliance of the moon illuminates the night sky, and is reflected in the expansive water of the Paraty Bay, Brazil.

"Northern Lights over Jokulsarlon, Iceland"

Giles Rocholl Photography Ltd, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"Painted Hills"

Nicholas Roemmelt, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"Parallel Mountains"

Sean Goebel, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"Pickering’s Triangle"

Bob Franke, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"Seven Magic Points"

Rune Engebø, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

The rusty red swirls of the circular, iron sculpture Seven Magic Points in Brattebergan, Norway, mirror the rippling aurora above.

"South"

Phil Hart, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"The Diamond Ring"

Melanie Thorne, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

The dramatic moment that our star, the sun, appears to be cloaked in darkness by the moon during the total solar eclipse of 9 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.

"The Disconnection Event"

Michael Jäeger, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"The Joy of Seven Sisters"

José Francisco Hernández Cabrera, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"Venus Rising"

Ivan Slade, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

"Wall of Plasma"

Eric Toops, Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich

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.

Laura Gallant is a staff photographer at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

Contact Laura Gallant at Laura.Gallant@BuzzFeed.com.

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