Now entering its 11th year, the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year is easily one of the world's most impressive annual astrophotography competitions. This year's shortlist highlights an exceptional variety of entries including an incredible nebulae shot reminiscent of the Eye of Mordor, and a series of gorgeous skyscapes.

The competition is run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, an iconic scientific site founded nearly 400 years ago. There are nine main categories in the massive competition with an overall winner receiving £10,000 (US$12,600).

Many of the shortlisted images required extraordinary dedication from photographers determined to trek to remote locations and wait hours for the perfect moment. Kevin Palmer's amazing shot of a comet over Loaf Mountain in the Bighorns (above) is a perfect example, requiring computer modeling to identify the perfect time and location, sending the photographer out into the wild at 3am on a frosty December night.

The winning images will be revealed at an award ceremony in mid-September.

Take a look through our gallery at all of the sublime shortlisted shots.

View gallery - 39 images