And they are spectacular.

The annual competition, now in its fifth year, is organized by The World at Night, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and Global Astronomy Month. This year's winners were selected from more than 1,000 submissions from a total of 55 countries and collected, along with other notable entries, into the awe-inspiring compilation you see here. You'll want to watch this one with the lights off, in full screen, HD, and with headphones if possible:

Via TWAN:

A stunning collection of nightscape photos (night sky above landscape) are selected as the winners and honorable mention photos of the 5th International Earth & Sky Photo Contest. The contest was open to anyone of any age, anywhere in the world; to both professional and amateur/hobby photographers. With a significant increase to the last year contest over 1000 entries were received and 80% of them were approved for the contest judging. David Malin, a prominent member of the judging panel and a world-known pioneer in scientific astrophotography explained that "This competition encourages photographers with imagination to push their cameras to their technical limits, and to produce eye-catching images that appear perfectly natural and are aesthetically pleasing. Hundreds of nightscape photographers from across the world rose to the challenge, and the panel of nine judges was ultimately faced with finding the best from almost 800 images." Babak Tafreshi, TWAN director and the contest co-founder, adds "We are pleased to see contributions this year from new countries which night sky photography is emerging. Also nightscape images taken in the countries and areas less exposed to landscape astrophotographers."

For more details, including information on this year's winners and how to enter next year's competition, at The World At Night.