Photographers who capture the “most beautiful and spectacular visions of the cosmos” could be in line for a £10,000 top prize in the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s annual competition.

Entries for the Insight Astronomy Photographer Of The Year 2016 can be submitted from Monday, February 29 and must be filed by Thursday, April 14.

The Observatory has also announced Turner Prize-winning artist Wolfgang Tillmans and the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Oana Sandu have joined its judging panel for the contest, now in its eighth year.

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Wolfgang, who recently received The Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography, said he developed a passion for astronomy as a child, which was his “visual initiation”.

Could you produce a photo this good? Highly commended in the aurorae category for 2015 Sumo Waggle Adventure by Arild Heitmann

He said: “Through astronomy I learned about the importance of careful observation and visual study.

“As for the competition, astrophotography is a language and fascination that unites people across cultures and all ages and I’m excited to see this crop of images from around the world.”

Oana, who is the observatory’s community coordinator, said: “I am honoured to be joining the high-calibre jury and excited that the observatory can contribute to this excellent initiative that has turned people’s eyes to the sky.

“It encourages them not only to appreciate and understand the beauty of the universe we live in, but also to capture and share it with others.”

The competition has seen an increase in prize money for all winners in its nine categories of skyscapes, aurorae, people and space, our sun, our moon, planets comets and asteroids, stars and nebulae, galaxies and young astronomer.

The top prize has risen from £2,500 in 2015 to £10,000.

There are also two special prizes – The Sir Patrick Moore Prize For Best Newcomer, awarded to the best photo by an amateur astrophotographer who has taken up the hobby in the last year and Robotic Scope, which acknowledges the best photo taken using one of an increasing number of computer-controlled telescopes at prime observing sites around the world.

The winning images will be displayed at the Greenwich museum from Monday, September 17.

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