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From cosmic dust to a hidden galaxy: Here are the 24 most stunning shots of space from the past year

INSIDER Logo By Sinéad Baker of INSIDER | Slide 1 of 25:  Striking shots of the Milky Way under a thunderstorm, snow reflecting the northern lights, and the International Space Station flying between sun spotsare among the photographs shortlisted for this year's Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year award. Astronomer and competition judge Dr Marek Kulula told Business Insider that astrophotography is both an essential scientific tool and "an invitation to take a pause from our busy lives and reflect on our place in the grand scheme of things." Many of the photographs in this collection didn't come easy. One of the Northern Lights in Swedish Laplan,d for example, was taken from a tiny cave in -15 degrees Fahrenheit. The competition winners will be announced on October 23 at the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London. Scroll down to see the striking photos shortlisted for this year's prize.

Striking shots of the Milky Way under a thunderstorm, snow reflecting the northern lights, and the International Space Station flying between sun spots are among the photographs shortlisted for this year's Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year award.

Astronomer and competition judge Dr Marek Kulula told Business Insider that astrophotography is both an essential scientific tool and "an invitation to take a pause from our busy lives and reflect on our place in the grand scheme of things."

Many of the photographs in this collection didn't come easy. One of the Northern Lights in Swedish Lapland for example, was taken from a tiny cave in -15 degrees Fahrenheit.

The competition winners will be announced on October 23 at the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London.

Scroll ahead to see the striking photos shortlisted for this year's prize.

© Jingyi Zhang/National Maritime Museum
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