The Royal Observatory’s Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 competition has released its shortlist. The competition is now in its 12th year and has attracted over 5,200 entries, taken by amateurs and professionals from almost 70 countries – a new record.

The shortlist is as diverse and engrossing as ever and includes a full moon illuminating the Shard in London, an aurora over Stokksnes headland on the Icelandic coast and a remarkable scene of a total solar eclipse

The winners of the competition’s nine categories and two special prizes will be announced on Thursday 10 September 2020. The winning images will then be displayed in an exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, alongside a selection of exceptional shortlisted images. Winners and shortlisted entries will also be published in the competition’s official book, available in September from bookstores and online, and to pre-order from the Royal Museums Greenwich online shop.

See the full shortlist here, but in the meantime, here are some of our favourite images from the selection. We wish all shortlisted candidates the very best of luck.

The Green Lady, Nicholas Roemmelt

“Although I have had the chance to gaze at and photograph the Northern Lights many times, I have never seen that mysterious ‘green lady’ before. It wasn’t until our journey to Norway last March that she unexpectedly appeared with her magical green clothes.”

The Many Jets and Shells of Centaurus by Connor Matherne

“There is a small smudge of red on the left side of the main jet, known as the C jet, and it wasn’t discovered until 2017 by a team of scientists. To my knowledge, this is one of the first image of this jet ever taken by an amateur!”

Jupiter Rising, by Stacey Downton

“The ‘Great Red Spot’ is in my opinion the defining feature in this dataset. I’ve tried imaging it with my own telescope and as yet, it has eluded me, usually due to the bad weather and equipment woes. I decided to download and process some data from Juno because of the awful weather that we had here in the UK over summer 2019.”

The Moon and the Shard, Matthew Browne

Iceland by Kristina Makeeva

Desert Magic by Stefan Liebermann

Painting the Sky, by Thomas Kast