Final Call to Capture the Stars

It’s the final chance to enter the ‘Reach for the Stars’ astrophotography competition, organised by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS). The competition, seeking the best astrophotographs taken in Ireland over the period 1st May 2022 to 28th April 2023, is calling on photography and astronomy fans to submit their images before the final closing date for entries on Friday, 28th April 2023.

Commenting today on the approaching deadline, Dr Eucharia Meehan, CEO and Registrar of DIAS said: “Now in its third year, the Reach for the Stars competition is all about making astronomy accessible to the public. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to appreciate the wonders of the night sky, you don’t need to own a telescope – we just ask that you follow the competition guidelines carefully to ensure your images meet the criteria.

“I would really encourage people to get out with their cameras or phones over the next week, before the closing date. There were some fantastic clear skies recently so I’m sure lots of photographers will have taken advantage of the perfect conditions. We are lucky to have stunning landscapes and areas of great natural beauty, combined with areas for stargazing all across the island that will make for some great images.”

Competition Details

Entries to the ‘Reach for the Stars’ competition will be judged by Professor Peter Gallagher, Head of Astrophysics at DIAS, along with Brenda Fitzsimons, Picture Editor of The Irish Times; John Flannery, Vice-President of the Irish Astronomical Society; and Niamh Breathnach, Director at Alice Public Relations.

The competition has two categories and entrants may submit up to two images in each of the following categories:

—  Out of this World: Images depicting scenes / features or elements of astronomical interest. For example, deep space images or images of the solar system.

—  Back on Earth: Astro-landscape images that depict a feature or element of astronomical interest and capture elements such as nature, cityscapes, buildings or monuments, land, or water.

The deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday, 28th April.

Prize Package

The winning photographers in the two main categories, as selected by the judging panel, will receive a prize package that includes:

—  Publication of their images on the DIAS and Irish Times websites;

—  A VIP tour of DIAS Dunsink Observatory – with the opportunity to peer through Ireland’s largest refractor telescope.

—  One pass for up to four guests for ‘Race to Space’, a fully immersive escape room experience hosted at DIAS Dunsink Observatory.

—  A €500 voucher for photographic/telescopic equipment; and

—  A 12-month digital subscription to The Irish Times.

Two runners-up in each category will also be selected by the judges and will each receive a €200 voucher for photographic/telescopic equipment. The winner of the Public Choice category, as voted for by the public, will also receive a voucher to the value of €150 for photographic/telescopic equipment.

It is DIAS’s intention that the winning and highly commended images will also be included in an exhibition at DIAS during 2023.  Furthermore, all shortlisted images will be included in an online exhibition – for the purposes of the public vote – on the competition’s website

Entries received to date

Commenting further, Dr Eucharia Meehan said: “There have been a number of astrological phenomena over the last year that have already made an appearance in this year’s entries, from blood moons to auroras – and it’s great to see so many people from across the country showing an interest in astronomy.

“DIAS has a rich legacy in space research, and it’s important that while we continue our public outreach, we inspire, excite, and inform about astronomy and encourage an interest in space. The Reach for the Stars competition has given us an opportunity to do this, and it’s fantastic to see people from all corners of Ireland taking part.”

DIAS’s ‘Reach for the Stars’ competition is being run in partnership with The Irish Times, and is sponsored by Alice Public Relations. The Irish Astronomical Society are initiative supporters.

Further information, including the competition guidelines and entry form, is available at