Australian photographer Martin Pugh captured this image of the Whirlpool Galaxy which combines fine detail in the spiral arms with the faint tails of light that show its small companion galaxy being gradually torn apart by the gravity of its giant neighbour. A closer look shows even more distant galaxies visible in the background.

Australian photographer Paul Haese captured a spectacular view of Venus passing in front of the sun in the rare ‘transit’ in June this year. This is a spectacular view of the active Sun, streaked and blotched with filaments, sunspots and prominences. Venus, a world almost exactly the same size as the Earth, seems dwarfed by the scale and power of our local star.



Photographer Tunç Tezel captured the earthly lights of towns and villages, spread out beneath the heavenly glow of one arm of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Making the most of an August night, the photographer got this shot after trekking out to the Uludag National Park near his hometown of Bursa, Turkey.



Japanese photographer Masahiro Miyasaka captured an icy scene in Nagano, Japan, with the blue stars of the Pleiades glowing overhead. Despite the icy glow, blue stars are actually much hotter and more massive than red stars.


American photographer Robert Franke used narrowband filters to increase the detail in this image of the ‘Witch’s Broom’ nebula – the remnants of an ancient explosion in deep space. Part of the Veil Nebula, the ‘Witch’s Broom’ is the glowing debris from a supernova explosion – the violent death of a massive star. Although the supernova occurred several thousand years ago, the gaseous debris is still expanding outwards, producing this vast …



American photographer Michael A Rosinski’s image blends artificial light, swarms of fireflies, and the long arcs of star trails overhead, captured using long exposures.



Crowds around the world gathered to watch the rare moment when Venus passed in front of our sun earlier this year. Photographer Chris Warren captured this image in Blackheath, London, in one shot using a ‘Hydrogen-Alpha’ filter, when the clouds briefly parted to allow a glimpse of the event.



British astrophotographer Damian Peach captured this series of stills of the surface of Mars – offering a complete picture of the hostile world currently being explored by Nasa’s Curiosity rover. It shows the gleaming north polar cap of frozen water and carbon dioxide, the red equatorial deserts and the darker southern highlands. The photographer has captured an amazing level of detail, including wispy clouds in the thin Martian atmosphere.



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