15 mesmerising astronomy photos that will transport you to space

Looking good, space.
By Sam Haysom  on 

We may never be rich enough to afford a trip into space, but that doesn't mean we can't gaze longingly at it from afar.

Here to facilitate some intergalactic contemplation is the shortlist for the 2023 Astronomy Photographer of the Year Awards(opens in a new tab), which has been whittled down from over 4,000 entries. London's Royal Observatory Greenwich runs the annual contest, with winners set to be announced on Sept. 14 across categories ranging from aurorae to galaxies.

We love a jaw-dropping view of the cosmos, so we've picked out 15 of the shortlisted images below to give you a flavour.

An image of the green Northern Lights over a mountain range.
"The Northern Lights above the famous Icelandic mountain, Vestrahorn." Credit: Lorenzo Ranieri Tenti
The Northern Lights glimpsed through a sea arch.
"The Northern Lights over the Great Pollet Sea Arch, Ireland captured as the Moon set." Credit: Brendan Alexander
A red and blue nebula visible in a black sky.
"The Veil Nebula is a supernova remnant in the Cygnus constellation." Credit: Jia You
A spiral galaxy viewed in space.
"NGC 1097 is a barred spiral galaxy 50 million light years away." Credit: Mark Hanson; Mike Selby
An image of the moon in space.
"This is a composite of an image of the Moon 78% illuminated and an image of the full Moon." Credit: Rich Addis
A crescent moon visible in a red and orange sky.
"Composite image of three exposures showing the sunset on 1 August 2022 in Rafaela, Argentina." Credit: Eduardo Schaberger Poupeau
An image of the sun.
"The Sun photographed moving towards its maximum cycle." Credit: Mehmet Ergün
A close-up of the surface of the sun.
"Photograph of the Sun taken from a 27-minute timelapse of a solar, flare which took place on 30 April 2022." Credit: Miguel Claro
A castle visible against the night sky.
"This photograph was taken at Dolbadarn Castle, a late 12th-century castle located above Llanberis in the heart of Eryri." Credit: Robert Price
An image of Saturn in space.
"A photograph of Saturn at opposition, the view captures the ring system and coloured bands and zones in its atmosphere." Credit: Damian Peach
An image of Jupiter in space.
"Jupiter flanked by two of its many moons, Io and Europa." Credit: Damian Peach
A comet visible above a snowy mountain.
"This image shows Comet 2022 E3 soaring over Mount Etna, Sicily as volcanic vapours sweep over the crater." Credit: Dario Giannobile
The Milky Way is visible over mountain tops.
"The Milky Way taken from the top of Pain de Sucre, on the French-Italian border." Credit: Jeff Graphy
A multi-coloured nebula in space.
"The Jellyfish Nebula (IC 443) is a supernova remnant (SNR) in the constellation Gemini." Credit: Peter Larkin
A red nebula in space.
"RCW58 is a Wolf Rayet bubble nebula." Credit: Mark Hanson; Mike Selby

The Astronomy Photographer of the Year Awards exhibition opens on Sept. 16. Tickets are available online(opens in a new tab).

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Sam Haysom is the Deputy UK Editor for Mashable. He covers entertainment and online culture, and writes horror fiction in his spare time.

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