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Award-winning space photos reveal glory of the cosmos

From the Andromeda Galaxy to the surface of the sun, this year's winners know how to dazzle.

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Amanda Kooser
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1 of 11 Nicolas Lefaudeux/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020

Andromeda Galaxy at arm's length

The Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition looks "to find the most beautiful and spectacular visions of the cosmos." The 2020 winners stretch from a distant nebula to a heartbreaking aurora right here on Earth.

The Andromeda Galaxy looks simultaneously dainty and gigantic in this tilt-shift approach by photographer Nicolas Lefaudeux of France. This image won the competition's galaxies category and took top honors as the overall winner for 2020.

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2 of 11 Nicholas Roemmelt/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020

The Green Lady

Photographer Nicholas Roemmelt from Germany came out on top in the aurorae category with this watercolor-like view of an aurora in Norway.

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3 of 11 Alice Fock Hang/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020

Four planets and the moon

This magical view of a blanket of stars with four planets and the moon came from 10-year-old Reunion Island photographer Alice Fock Hang, winner of the Young Competition category of Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020.

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4 of 11 Bence Toth/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020

Waves

The Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition awarded a special Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer to Bence Toth of Hungary for this swirling telescope view that required nearly eight hours of exposure time.

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5 of 11 Alain Paillou/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020

Tycho Crater region with colors

Applying image processing techniques to the moon gives us this colorful view of Tycho Crater and the surrounding area from Alain Paillou of France. The enhanced colors help the moon's craggy features pop out.

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6 of 11 Alexandra Hart/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020

Liquid sunshine

The surface of the sun is a tricky subject to capture, but Alexandra Hart of the UK delivered this stunner of a telescope image for the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 competition. It won best picture in the "our sun" category.

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7 of 11 Thomas Kast/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020

Painting the sky

These rainbow-colored clouds are known as nacreous clouds. This unreal view was captured by German photographer Thomas Kast, winner of the skyscapes category.

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8 of 11 Lukasz Sujka/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020

Space between us

Polish photographer Lukasz Sujka used the dark of space to create a stunning visual impact with this image of the moon and Jupiter. This won out in the "planet, comets and asteroids" category of the International Photographer of the Year competition for 2020.

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9 of 11 Peter Ward/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020

Cosmic inferno

It looks like the cosmos is on fire in this wonderfully vivid image that was the winner of the "stars and nebulae" category of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition for 2020. Photographer Peter Ward of Australia used a telescope to capture the view.

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10 of 11 Rafael Schmall/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020

The prison of technology

Photographer Rafael Schmall of Hungary titled this winner of the International Astronomy Photographer of the Year "people and space" category as The Prison of Technology. It shows a time-lapse view of space with streaks created by a satellite megaconstellation. 

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11 of 11 Julie Hill/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020

Dark river

UK photographer Julie Hill created the winner of the Annie Mauder Prize for Image Innovation with this piece called Dark River. 

"This image has transformed how the viewer experiences space by reinventing an observation of 84 million stars and moving into the three-dimensional realm," said Astronomy Photographer of the Year judge Emily Drabek-Maunder, an astrophysicist.

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