Winners of the 2011 Astronomy Photographer of the Year Contest

Turkish photographer Tunç Tezel took this photo in a small village on the west coast of Mangaia in the Cook Islands. It shows dust clouds that Australian astronomers call "the emu in the sky." Tunç Tezel

The National Maritime Museum’s Royal Observatory in Greenwich England has announced the 2011 winners of its Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest, across categories from “Our Solar System” and “Deep Space” to “Best Newcomer” and “Young Astronomy Photographer.” For the first time, this year the Observatory added a special category for photos taken with a robotic scope.

Click here to launch a gallery of the best of the winning photos.

From among the winners, we’ve put together a gallery of our favorites, including auroras, supernova remnant and beautiful views of the Milky Way. These photos almost make us ready to pack up and move out of the city so we can reacquaint ourselves with the stars. Almost.

National Maritime Museum