Two Galway photographers reach final stage of national astrophotography competition

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.

Two Galway photographers have advanced to the next stage of Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies’ (DIAS) national astrophotography competition.

Photographs taken by Josh Mathews from Moyard and Peadar Donnellan from Ballinasloe are now included in an online public vote which was launched this week by An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.

The ‘Reach for the Stars’ winners will be decided by a high-profile judging panel, but the public can also view the photos and have their say in the online vote on the DIAS website.

Over 170 images have been shortlisted in what is the inaugural year of the competition.

The winning images selected by the judging panel and the public vote will be announced towards the end of May, and an outdoor exhibition will be staged by DIAS to showcase the best images.

Commenting today, Professor Peter Gallagher, Head of Astrophysics at DIAS and a member of the judging panel for Reach for the Stars, said that they have been blown away by the images submitted to the competition.

“From stars and galaxies to meteor showers and the moon – there are dozens of fantastic entries,” said Professor Gallagher.

“We are delighted to be able to showcase all the eligible submissions online, so that the public can enjoy them too.

“The enthusiasm for the competition has really proven to us the interest there is in astronomy amongst the public, and the many talented photographers that are out there. We encourage people to take a look online and cast their vote for their favourite.”

Alongside the Public Choice Award, an overall winner and runners-up will be chosen by the judging panel, which includes: Professor Gallagher; 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 that the competition has captured the imagination of people in all corners of the country.

“We received entries from right across the island of Ireland,” said Dr. Meehan.

“The competition is being run as part of the DIAS80 programme of events, marking 80 years since DIAS was established, and builds on our proud astronomical heritage.

“The Public Choice Award will give people an opportunity to engage with these fascinating astronomy photographs and have their say on who their winner is.”

Votes for the Public Choice Award are restricted to one vote per person, and voting will close at midnight on Sunday, 9 May 2021.