It’s times like this when you realise how good pro photographers really are

These hyperreal photos may look like the snippets of a dream your laptop might have while dozing off in Photoshop but they're actually real pictures taken by the entrants in this year's Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

Herschel36theHeartofthe LagooncopyrightLászló Francsics

"Searing hot loops of plasma radiate from the edge of the sun, star trails illuminate the night sky over a campfire-lit Green Lake in the Hoover Wilderness of California, Comet Lovejoy sails through the solar system in a green haze leaving cometary dust in its wake… Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 has received more outstanding pictures than ever before," says the official blurb and you can tell from the photos scattered about this post that they aren't wrong.

MotindcopyrightRune Engebo

If you've ever tried to take a halfway decent photo of a starry sky, or even use your iPhone camera in the most basic sense at night, you'll know how hard it must have been to take these images.

Full Moon over the Alpscopyright Stefano De Rosa
Thor's Helmetcopyright Adam Block
Ascent of AngelscopyrightBrad Goldpaint
M42SubtleV1 CroppedcopyrightPatrick Gilliland
The Mirrored Night Skycopyright Xiaohua Zhao

Over 2,700 entries were received from over 60 countries. And the winners will be announced on 17 September.

You can view the full shortlist here on the Royal Museums Greenwich website

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MoonandAntelaocopyrightMarcellaGiuliaPace