A shortlist of spectacular images – some quite literally out of this world – has been revealed for Greenwich’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

Star trails, dust clouds, meteor races and river reflections of the Milky Way feature in the global competition run by The Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with BBC Sky at Night Magazine.

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The competition’s sixth year has gained a record number of entries with more than 2,500 images from amateurs and pro photographers around the world.

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Awards will be announced on September 17 and the winning images displayed free at the observatory's home of the Prime Meridian from September 18.

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Royal Observatory public astronomer Dr Marek Kukula, who is one of the judges, said: “The competition grows more and more exciting every year, especially with the sheer volume of entries constantly on the increase.

"I've been overwhelmed to see how the astrophotography community has come up with new and original ways to produce startling images year on year”.

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To follow the awards ceremony live visit Twitter #astrophoto2014.