Winners of the 2011 Astronomy Photographer of the Year Contest

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.

Overall Winner: Jupiter with lo and Ganymede
Damian Peach's awesome detail on two of Jupiter's moons in this photo taken from Barbados clinched him the overall win.Damian Peach
Deep Space Winner: Vela Supernova Remnant
We already knew supernova remnants were beautiful, but this photo outdoes even the one released by NASA the other day.Marco Lorenzi
Deep Space Highly Commended: Fighting Dragons of Ara (NGC 6188 and 6164)
The Deep Space category as a whole was the best, in our humble opinion. Maybe we're just suckers for swirling clouds of gas, but this photo shows the shell of a newly born star (in the lower left-hand corner). If that's not cool, we don't know what is.Michael Sidonio
People and Space Winner: Stargazing
Jefferey Sullivan's self-portrait of his pursuit of the Milky Way swept the People and Space category. And for once, light pollution adds to the scenery with an eerie yellow glow.Jefferey Sullivan
Robotic Scope Winner: Shell Galaxies (NGC474 and NGC467)
Marco Lorenzi is on a roll. His photo of the Vela supernova remnant won the Deep Space category and now he's captured these shell galaxies using an RCOS 14.5 inch f/9 telescope and an APOGEE U16 CCD camera.Marco Lorenzi
Earth and Space Winner: Galactic Paradise
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
Earth and Space Runner-Up: Divine Presence
There's nothing like a good aurora photo, but what sets this one apart is the way the swirling landscape below mirrors the dancing lights overhead.Ole C. Salomonsen