Whirlpool Galaxy This beautifully composed image of the Whirlpool Galaxy combines fine detail in the spiral arms with the faint tails of light that show its small companion galaxy being gradually torn apart by the gravity of its giant neighbour. A closer look shows even more distant galaxies visible in the background. Image: Martin Pugh, winner for Deep Space and overall winner
Star Icefall Taken in Nagano, Japan, this image shows Orion, Taurus and the Pleiades as the backdrop to an eerie frozen landscape. Though the stars appear to gleam with a cold, frosty light, bright blue stars like the Pleiades can be as hot as 30,000 degrees Celsius. Image: Masahiro Miyasaka, winner Earth and Space
Green World The aurora borealis traces the shifting patterns of the Earth’s magnetic field, creating a spectacular midwinter show in Nordland Fylke, Norway. The green light in this image comes from oxygen atoms high in the atmosphere, which have been energised by subatomic particles from the Solar Wind. Image: Arild Heitmann, runner-up for Earth and Space
You can check out additional winning images, and other highly commended ones on Wired.