The best astronomy pictures of the year are gorgeous reminders that we live on a rock that drifts through space
Unfortunately, terrestrial concerns like work, dinner, and getting enough sleep tend to keep us facing down.Thankfully, some people not only take the time to appreciate the night sky, but are also talented enough to capture its thrilling splendor with mesmerizing pictures - humbling images that remind us of our cosmically fragile existence.
The Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, now in its 10th year, honors that spirit with an epic distillation of "the most beautiful and spectacular images of space and the cosmos," according to the Royal Observatory Greenwich, which hosts the contest.
The overall winner is shown above. The picture netted photographer Brad Goldpoint nearly $13,000 in prize money. It's a long exposure titled "Transport the Soul," and it shows the Milky Way galaxy (right), moon (center), and the tripod-wielding astrophotographer himself (left) perched on the lip of a desert canyon in Moab, Utah.
Here are the other 10 award-winning images announced this week, along with a handful of striking runners-up.