The best astronomy photos of the year have set a 'jaw-dropping standard'

When you combine the dynamic objects in our solar system with the distant bodies of the universe, you get award-winning photos.

Each year, the Royal Museums Greenwich holds its “Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year” contest. The winning photos are showcased in an exhibit at the Royal Observatory Greenwich for all to enjoy.

This year’s batch of winners were spectacular.

“The quality of this year’s field of over 2,700 images from across the globe meant that there was some lively debate over the judging,” said BBC Sky and Night Magazine Editor Chris Bramley, one of the judges. “Each and every category contained images of a jaw-dropping standard.”

Check them out:

Late last year, Comet Siding Spring flew closer to the red planet Mars than any other comet in recorded history. And German photographer Sebastian Voltmer caught it on camera: Mars is extremely bright in this photo because of Voltmer's exposure settings and you can just make out the white tail of Comet Siding Spring located left of Mars.

Learn more about Sebastian Voltmer's work on his website

Italy-based photographer Paolo Porcellana caught this solar prominence leaping across the face of our sun. Porcellana is also founder of the YouTube channel Backyard Astronomy, which features astronomy videos from amateurs and professionals.

Earlier this year, comet C/2014 Q2, also called Comet Lovejoy, passed close to Earth, making it one of the brightest comets in the night sky at that time. This photo was taken by 15-year-old George Martin, earning him first place in the contest's 'Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year' category.

This photo, by Australia-based photographer Jamen Percy, is a breathtaking spectacle of the Northern lights against a snow-covered hill. Percy is an Aurora Borealis expert and leads tours dedicated to 'giving you the best possible chances of seeing the Northern lights.' Learn more on his website, provided beneath this photo.

This rural setting in Sunset Peak on Lantau Island, Hong Kong is a stark contrast to hustle and bustle we usually attribute to one of the most densely-populated metropolises. Here, Hong Kong-based photographer Chap Him Wong has exposed his camera long enough to catch the motion of stars as they move across the sky.

Michael van Doorn is a photographer based in the Netherlands who snapped this amazing shot of the Pinwheel Galaxy (or M33), which floats in space 3 million light years from Earth. That means the light that Doorn has immortalised in this award-winning photo is over 3 million years old. One of the contest judges said 'This is one of the best images -- amateur or professional -- of Messier 33 that I've ever seen.'

Omega Centauri is a tightly-knit collection of stars, called a globular cluster. This particular cluster -- shown in photo taken by Argentina-based astrophotographer Ignacio Diaz Bobillo below -- is the largest of its kind in the Milky Way Galaxy and measures about 150 light-years across.

See more of Ignacio Diaz Bobillo's beautiful work on his website

UK-based photographer David Tolliday offers a glorious glimpse at both the Orion nebula at the center of the photo and what is often referred to as the 'Running man' nebula toward the top. Tolliday is primarily a wildlife photographer but he clearly has an eye for astrophotography, too.

Hungary-based photographer András Papp took this award-winning shot of our moon. One of the judges described this photo as: 'The perfect symmetry of this half-moon shot gives it a very striking appearance and the combination of crisp detail on the sunlit side and the faint glow of reflected Earth-light on the dark side is very impressive.'

Only a few places in the world had the chance to see the total solar eclipse that took place on March 20, 2015. French photographer Luc Jamet won the contest's overall grand prize of £2,500 ($3,800) for this shot of the eclipse, which he took in Norway seconds after totality had begun. One of the judges said 'It is one of those heart-stoppingly beautiful shots for which you feel grateful to the photographer for sharing such an exceptional moment.'

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