It used to be that astronomy photography was the preserve of those who were able to afford high-end telescopes, cameras and lenses. However, as equipment becomes more affordable and camera quality increases, now anyone can take a peek into the heavens.

The Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition has, year after year, been host to a number of awe-inspiring images, such as this one by Ruslan Merzlyakov.

The competition, run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with Insight Investment and BBC Sky at Night Magazine, is in its ninth year. It is clear that the lines between amateur and professional blur as the genre becomes more accessible.

The winners will be announced on 14 September, with an exhibition at the Royal Observatory opening on 16 September.