Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies contact@dias.ie 00353 (0) 16140100

‘Reach for the Stars’ – DIAS’s Astrophotography Competition

The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies is running the inaugural ‘Reach for the Stars’ astrophotography competition in 2021.

Launched in December 2020, the competition called for the best astro-photographs taken in Ireland over the period 1st January 2020 to 31st March 2021. The closing date for entries was 2nd April 2021, so the competition is now closed.

We are delighted that almost 200 entries were received. Over the coming weeks, the winning image will be selected by our judging panel, and we will also be running an online public vote.

Important Notice re. the Online Public Vote

An online public vote will take place as part of the ‘Reach for the Stars’ competition. The public vote will be launched on Monday, 26th April 2021. For a period of two weeks thereafter, members of the public will be able to view a gallery of all eligible images entered for the competition, and vote for their favourite image.

It has come to our attention that, unfortunately, a trial version of the web-page for the online public vote was published recently on the DIAS website. This trial page was erroneously open for votes from 12th to 15th April. We ask that anyone who cast a vote during that period please returns to the site after 26th April to recast your vote. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Competition Background

The ‘Reach for the Stars’ competition was open to anyone with an interest in astronomy and photography, whether as a hobby, a burning passion or a fulltime career. Entrants must be 18 years old or over.

Entrants were invited to submit up to three images to the competition. The images had to:

  • Be the original work of the person submitting the entry;
  • Have been taken in Ireland during the specified period; and
  • Depict scenes / features / elements of astronomical interest.

The winning entries will now be chosen by our prestigious judging panel, which includes:

The winning photographer 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.
  • A €500 voucher for photographic / telescopic equipment; and
  • A 12-month Premium Digital subscription to The Irish Times.

It is DIAS’s intention that the winning and highly commended images will also be included in an exhibition at DIAS during 2021, if circumstances allow.

DIAS’s ‘Reach for the Stars’ astrophotography competition is being run in partnership with The Irish Times and the Irish Astronomical Society, and is sponsored by Alice PR & Events.


Competition is now closed


Meet the Judges

John Flannery
John Flannery is Vice-Chair of the Irish Astronomical Society and contributes a monthly sky diary column to The Irish Times. His main interests as an amateur astronomer are the sky lore of world cultures; binocular observing; and astronomical history.

Martina Quinn
Martina Quinn is the Founder and Managing Director of Alice PR and Events. She has over 15 years’ experience working in PR and communications and has wide-ranging experience of providing strategic communications support to organisations in the public, corporate, social justice and education sectors.

Prof Peter Gallagher
Professor Peter Gallagher is Head of DIAS Astrophysics and has spent the past two decades studying the Sun its impacts on the Earth. He is an expert in imaging the Sun using ground- and space-based telescopes.

Brenda Fitzsimons
Brenda Fitzsimons is photo editor of the Irish Times.

Organising Committee

Dr Eoin Carley
Dr Eoin Carley is Schrödinger Research Fellow at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, currently working on observation of solar eruptions and flares using the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR).

Alberto Cañizares
Alberto Canizares is a PhD student of Solar Physics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and Trinity College Dublin. In 2019 Alberto was granted an award by the Irish Research Council to investigate Radio Bursts occurring in the Solar Corona using multiple instruments onboard different spacecraft as well as the LOFAR telescope. In his free time Alberto is a very passionate photographer having published some of his images in media such as RTE.ie , the Astronomy Ireland Magazine, Lonely Planet and others.

Niamh Breathnach
Niamh Breathnach is a Senior Account Manager at Alice PR & Events. She has been with Alice since 2016, and has worked with DIAS on their communications and PR since 2017.