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The Milky Way rises ominously above a small radio telescope from a large array at Miyun Station, National Astronomical Observatory of China. (Pic: Haitong Yu)

Stunning space: 15 incredible photos from the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2017 competition

From Mars to the Milky Way, these are just some of the incredible images of space taking part in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2017 contest.

Thousands of pictures have been sent on for the competition, which is run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with Insight Investment and BBC Sky at Night Magazine.

Now in its ninth year, amateurs and professional photographers from 91 countries across the globe have submitted pictures showing the majesty of space.

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Shortlisted images from this year’s entrants include the magnificent sight of the Super Moon illuminating the night sky as it sets behind the Marmarole, in the heart of the Dolomites in Italy and a shooting star flashes across the sky over Portland, Dorset, as our neighbouring planet Venus looks on.

The range of subjects is not just limited to our planet – photographers have also captured sights from across our Solar System, galaxy and the wider universe.

The winning images will be displayed in a free of charge exhibition at the Observatory’s Astronomy Centre from Saturday 16 September.