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Final call for Ireland’s best astronomy photographs

Astronomy and photography fans are getting a final reminder to enter the ‘Reach for the Stars’ competition, organised by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS). The competition, seeking the best astro-photographs taken in Ireland over the period 1st January 2020 to 31st March 2021, will close for entries on 2nd April 2021.

Commenting today (23.03.21) on the entries received to date, Professor Peter Gallagher, Head of DIAS Astrophysics, said: “The standard of entries to date has been excellent. It is fantastic to see so many people in Ireland interested in astronomy and capturing beautiful images of the night sky.

“There are a number of exciting opportunities for people to capture quality images in the coming weeks, before the closing date – Mars is still visible in the evening sky, while Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn occupy the morning sky. There will also be a Supermoon on 28th March – the fourth brightest of the 12 full moons occurring this year.

“I would encourage people to get out with their cameras or phones over the next few weeks. Whether you are an amateur or a professional, anyone with an interest in astronomy can enter. 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.”

Prize Package
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 & Events.

Entrants may submit up to three images to the competition, and the deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday, 2nd April 2021.

The winning entrant 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.

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

Commenting on the competition, Dr Eucharia Meehan, CEO and Registrar of DIAS said: “We are running the ‘Reach for the Stars’ competition as part of the DIAS80 programme of events, marking 80 years since DIAS was established, and we are delighted with the response to the competition to date. There have been some really impressive entries, depicting a huge variety of astronomical scenes – from images of the moon and the night sky to nebulae, aurora borealis and sunsets.

“This competition is building on DIAS’s legacy as a leader in space research. DIAS Dunsink Observatory is one of Ireland’s most important scientific sites and has been recognised by the European Physical Society as a ‘site of historical significance’. We are delighted to be including a VIP visit to the observatory as part of the competition prize package, so that we can share some of the ‘behind the scenes’ with astronomy fans.”

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

Further information, including the competition guidelines and entry form, is available at https://dias.ie/reachforthestars .