DIAS competition seeks Ireland’s best astronomy photographs

Anyone with an interest in astronomy or photography invited to enter
Dr Eoin Carley at DIAS Dunsink Observatory. Credit: Marc O’Sullivan

21 December 2020

Astrophotography competition, Reach for the Stars, is now open for entries.

Organised by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS), the competition is seeking the best astro-photographs taken in Ireland over the period 1 January 2020 to 31 March 2021. Entrants may submit up to three images to the competition before the 2 April deadline.  

The winning entrant will receive a prize package that includes:



  • Publication of their images on the DIAS and The Irish Times websites;
  • A VIP tour of DIAS Dunsink Observatory – with the opportunity to peer through Ireland’s largest refractor telescope;
  • A €500 voucher for photographic / telescopic equipment;
  • A 12-month premium digital subscription to The Irish Times.

DIAS said it intends to stage an exhibition of the winning and highly commended images in 2021 if circumstances allow. 

“2020 has been a great year for astronomy fans, featuring supermoons, sunspots appearing for the first time in years, and soon, Jupiter and Saturn coming together in the evening sky on the winter solstice,” said Prof Peter Gallagher, head of DIAS Astrophysics. “People across the country are capturing breath-taking images of such events. With the Reach for the Stars competition, we are asking for people to submit their images – we want to see what Ireland’s astro-photographers can offer.”

Prof Gallagher stressed that entrants do not need to be astronomy or photography professionals. “Anyone with an interest in astronomy and photography – whether as a hobby, a burning passion or a fulltime career – can enter,” he said. “Our only stipulations are that entrants must be over 18; they must have taken their photograph on the island of Ireland during the time period specified; and – obviously – their photograph must depict something of astronomical interest.”

Entries will be judged by Prof Gallagher, along with Brenda Fitzsimons, picture editor of The Irish Times; John Flannery, vice-president of the Irish Astronomical Society; and Martina Quinn, managing director of Alice PR & Events.

Dr Eucharia Meehan, CEO and registrar of DIAS, said Reach for The Stars “builds on DIAS’s – and Ireland’s – proud astronomical heritage. DIAS Dunsink Observatory is one of Ireland’s most important scientific sites and has been recognised by the European Physical Society as a ‘site of historical significance’. The winner of this competition will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit the observatory and use some of the unique equipment– I think that’s a dream come true for astronomy fans.” 

Further information, including the competition guidelines and entry form, is available at https://dias.ie/reachforthestars

TechCentral Reporters

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