Meteors rain down over the Californian mountains, the International Space Station streaks like a dart across the Australian night sky and, um – a weird looking bird from New Zealand called the Royal Spoonbill tries to steal the moon's limelight (and almost succeeds).

These are some of the most incredible shots shortlisted for this year's Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards, and to be honest, they're out of this world (sorry about that one).

Front cover of Astronomy Photograoher of the Year book

Now coming into its fifth year at Greenwich's Royal Observatory, the competition showcases and celebrates the best shots of stunning stars and astonishing auroras from some of the world's most revered astrophotographers.

The winners of the annual competition will be announced in a ceremony on September 15th, and you can check out all the winners – as well as all the shortlisted images here – in an exhibition at Royal Observatory Greenwich from September 17th.

The competition's official book, published by Collins, will be available from November 3rd for £25.