The highly commended images for the Our Solar System category of the 2012 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

The Our Solar System category is for photos of our Sun and its family of planets, moons, asteroids and comets. The Moon is a wonderful object to photograph, with constant changes of view throughout the lunar cycle; see our page on How to photograph the Moon for some expert tips. Photographing a comet, meanwhile, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can be achieved with relatively modest equipment; visit How to photograph comets to find out more.

Highly commended Our Solar System photos in 2012

Three Our Solar System photos were highly commended by the judges:

‘Venus Transit’ by Paul Haese (Australia) gives a spectacular view of the active Sun. Venus, a world almost exactly the same size as the Earth, seems dwarfed by the scale and power of our local star.

Taken using a long exposure, the ‘Comet C/2009 P1 Garradd’ star trails image by Graham Relf (UK) shows Comet Garradd, which was discovered in 2009 as it approached the inner Solar System. It became visible through binoculars in 2011. It will not be seen from Earth again.

The ‘Worlds of the Solar System’ portrait gallery by Damian Peach (UK) features four of our planetary neighbours in exquisite detail. The photographer shows the relative sizes of the planets as they appear to an observer on Earth.

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