Richard Branson may be on track to take the first tourists into space, but for the time being we’ll have to settle for images of stunning stars, gorgeous galaxies and awesome asteroids.
A good place to start is London’s Royal Observatory in Greenwich, where the winners of this year’s Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year will be on display from September 16.
We’ve selected a few of our favourite shots from the free exhibition, which runs until July 22, 2018.
Taken in Namibia using a telescope with a camera mount (and a 15-hour exposure), this picture features one of the closest star-forming regions to our solar system – but it’s still 460 light years away.
Our Moon: Highly Commended
Dormant volcano Mauna Kea may be in exotic Hawaii, but it’s still high enough to get a dusting of snow in winter. This shot features the moon setting behind a series of telescopes.
People & Space: Winner
Here, the Milky Way stretches across the Piedras Blancas glacier in Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park.
Aurorae: Highly Commended
While flying from Amsterdam to Beijing, this photographer managed to capture the aurora. A white night (when the sun hardly sets) made twilight visible on the horizon.
Stars & Nebulae: Runner Up
These perfectly concentric star trails were photographed over the course of a stellar day (23 hours, 56 minutes and four seconds), the exact amount of time it takes for our planet to complete a full rotation on its axis.