The highly commended images for the Deep Space category of the 2010 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

The Deep Space category is for photos of anything beyond our Solar System, including stars, nebulae and galaxies. Long-exposure photography is the best way to see and capture colour views of our distant neighbourhood; visit How to photograph deep space objects for expert tips.

Highly commended Deep Space 2010 photographers

‘The Sword and the Rose (Orion’s sword and M42)’, by Marcus Davies (Australia), shows the M42 nebula as a cloud of dark dust and glowing gas in the Sword of Orion. The M42 nebula is a stellar nursery where new stars are being born. It is visible to the naked eye but a telescope reveals the full beauty of this giant star factory.

‘The Trifid Nebula (M20)’ by Eddie Trimarchi (Australia) is of another glowing cloud of gas. This one takes its name from the dark lanes of dust that appear to divide it into three. The pink glow comes from hydrogen molecules that have been energised by the stars at the centre of the nebula. To the left of the image a neighbouring cloud of dust reflects the blue light of the central stars.

The third shot to be highly commended was ‘The Andromeda Galaxy (M31)’ by Edward Henry (USA). Andromeda is one of the closest galaxies to our own Milky Way. Even so, the light from Andromeda takes two-and-a-half million years to reach us, so we see this galaxy as it appeared in the distant past.

Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition

The Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition is an annual global search for the most beautiful and spectacular visions of the cosmos by amateur and professional astrophotographers. The winning images are showcased in a stunning exhibition at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

Visit the IAPY 2015 exhibition