DIAS astrophotography competition back for second year

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galway daily news dias astrophotography competition leo varadkar
Pictured at DIAS Dunsink Observatory in last year were Tánaiste Leo Varadkar; Dr. Eucharia Meehan, CEO and Registrar of DIAS; and Professor Peter Gallagher, Head of Astrophysics at DIAS.

The astrophotography competition ‘Reach for the Stars’ is back for its second year and Galway with an interest in photography and astronomy are being urged to enter by submitting their images.

The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) competition, which is now open for entries, is looking for the best astro-photographs taken in Ireland over the period 1 April 2021 to 30 April 2022.

It is calling for submissions under two distinct categories, with the first being ‘Out of this World’ – images depicting scenes, features or elements of astronomical interest. These could be deep space images or images of the solar system.

The second category is ‘Back on Earth’: astro-landscape images with a feature or element of astronomical interest, and capture elements such as nature, cityscapes, buildings or monuments, land, or water.

Last year’s winner was Josh Mathews from Shanbolard, Moyard, Co. Galway whose image ‘To the Waters and the Wild’ depicted the night sky over Crocnaraw on the Connemara coast.

Launching the competition, Dr Eucharia Meehan, CEO and Registrar of DIAS, said that after the huge success of last year’s competition, they are excited to see what entries will be submitted this year.

“DIAS has a rich legacy and expertise in astronomy and it is fantastic to be able to showcase that, while also capturing the public’s imagination and creativity through the wonders of space,” said Dr Meehan.

“Last year we received entries from people in Galway and right across the country, and this year we hope to see even more. The competition is open to everyone – whether they are a seasoned professional or amateur with a love for astronomy.

“We just asked that they follow the competition guidelines carefully when making the submission to ensure their images are eligible.”

Competition Details

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

Entrants may submit up to two images per category to the competition. The deadline for entries is 5pm on Saturday, 30th April.

All entries to the competition will be screened by a shortlisting panel to ensure they meet the eligibility criteria. The shortlisted images in each category will then go forward for consideration by the judging panel and for an online public vote.

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 Premium 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 voucher to the value of €150 for photographic / telescopic equipment.

Further information, including the competition guidelines and entry form, is available at www.reachforthestars.ie.