5 jaw-dropping astronomy photos from around the world

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Every year, the Royal Observatory runs a photography competition, searching for the best shots of stars and planets. This year over 1,200 entries were submitted from all over the world. Here are five of the best:

5. Green Energy
By Fredrik Broms, Norway
They may be one of the most photographed pieces of sky, but the Northern Lights are always breathtaking. This shot was taken in Grøtfjord, Norway.

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4. Icy Visitor
By Fredrik Broms, Norway
Catching site of a comet is always incredible, but when that sighting is set atop the rugged peaks of a Norwegian fjord, well, talk about an out-of-this-world image.

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3. Snowy Range Perseids Meteor Shower
By David Kingham, U.S.A.
The annual Perseids meteor shower is always pretty spectacular, but this shot from the Medicine Bow National Forest in south-central Wyoming is completely surreal.

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2. Quadruple Lunar Halo
By Dani Caxete, Spain
Snowy landscapes are the last thing that comes to mind when people think of Madrid, but this shot taken near the city on a cold night shows an insanely beautiful winter side to Spain.

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1. THE WINNER: Guiding Light to the Stars
By Mark Gee, Australia
This stunning shot of the Milky Way was taken at Cape Palliser on New Zealand’s North Island.

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If you’d like to snap pics of the night sky like a seasoned pro, read “8 tips for taking pictures of the night sky.”