The highly commended images for the Deep Space category of the 2013 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 for the Deep Space category in 2013

The three astrophotographers who were highly commended in the 2013 competition were Ignacio Diaz Bobillo (Argentina), Michael Sidonio (Australia) and Ivan Eder (Hungary).

Diaz Bobillo’s ‘Omega Centauri’ shows a spherical cloud containing several million stars, known as a globular cluster. The red colour of several of the stars gives away the cluster’s great age: it’s thought to have been formed many billions of years ago. ‘This image was taken from my suburban backyard, on a night of particularly good viewing,’ said the photographer.

Sidonio’s ‘Floating Metropolis – NGC 253’ shows a rare example of the NGC 253 ‘starburst galaxy’, often referred to as the ‘Silver Dollar Galaxy’. Here new stars are being formed at many times the rate in our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Its mottled appearance comes from extensive lanes of dust that thread through the galactic disc.

Eder’s image ‘M81–82 and Integrated Flux Nebula’, meanwhile, shows the M81 and M82 galaxies, which lie at a distance of twelve million light years from 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