Astronomy and photography fans asked to ‘Reach for the Stars’

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Astronomy and photography fans here have a chance to win a behind-the-scenes tour of one of Europe’s best-known observatories as part of a prize package on offer for a new astrophotography competition.

The ‘Reach for the Stars’ competition is organised by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS), and is now open for entries.

The competition is seeking the best astro-photographs taken on the island of Ireland over the period January 1 to March 31.

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Professor Peter Gallagher, Head of DIAS Astrophysics, said: “We all love looking up at the night sky and admiring how spectacular it can be. With recent advances in cameras and indeed in phone cameras, astrophotography has grown in popularity in recent years.

Astronomy and photography fans asked to 'Reach for the Stars’Astronomy and photography fans asked to 'Reach for the Stars’
Astronomy and photography fans asked to 'Reach for the Stars’

“Last year was a great year for astronomy fans, featuring supermoons, sunspots appearing for the first time in years, and Jupiter and Saturn coming together in the evening sky on the winter solstice. 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”. Professor Gallagher stressed entrants did 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.”

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Entrants can submit up to three images to the competition, and the deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday, April 2.

The winning entrant will receive a prize package that includes a VIP tour of DIAS Dunsink Observatory, publication of their images on the DIAS website and a €500 voucher for photographic/telescopic equipment.

Entries to the ‘Reach for the Stars’ competition will be judged by Professor 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 and Events.

DIAS also intends to stage an exhibition of the winning and highly commended images this year, if circumstances allow.

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

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