Competition Details

Visit our Exhibition page to view this year’s shortlisted entries.

Announcement of winners coming soon.

We are looking for the best astro-photographs taken in Ireland over the period 28th April 2023 to 10th May 2024.

The competition is open to anyone with an interest in astronomy and photography, whether as a hobby, a burning passion or a fulltime career. You must be 18 years old or over to enter.

This year, we are calling for competition entries in 5 distinct categories:

  1. Night Sky in Your Hand: Images taken with only a smartphone, and without telescopes, of an astronomical scene.
  2. Out of this World – Planetary: Images of the planets, sun and moon.
  3. Out of this World – Deep Sky: Images of celestial objects that exist outside our solar system such as nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies.
  4. Back on Earth – Landscape: Images that depict a feature of astronomical interest as a prominent feature and elements such as nature, land or water.
  5. Back on Earth – Landmark: Images that depict a feature of astronomical interest as a prominent feature and elements such as cityscapes, buildings, houses, historical structures or monuments.

Entrants may submit up to two images per category to the competition. The images must:

  • 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 – in keeping with the guidance provided for the category under which you are submitting your entries.

All entries to the 2024 ‘Reach for the Stars’ 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.

The Winners

Six prizes will be awarded in total this year:

  1. Winner of the ‘Night Sky in Your Hand’ category;
  2. Winner of the ‘Out of this World – Planetary’ category;
  3. Winner of the ‘Out of this World – Deep Sky’ category;
  4. Winner of the ‘Back on Earth – Landscape’ category;
  5. Winner of the ‘Back on Earth – Landmark’ category;
  6. Winner of the online public vote.

Please read the Terms & Conditions in full before entering.

Prize Package

The winning photographers in the ‘Out of this World’ and ‘Back on Earth’ 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;
  • Passes to the three sites of the Astronomical Observatories of Ireland – Dunsink Observatory (Race to Space escape room), Armagh Observatory and Birr Castle Demesne.
  • A €500 voucher for photographic / telescopic equipment; and
  • A 12-month digital subscription to The Irish Times.

The winner of the Public Choice category, as voted for by the public, and the winner of the ‘Night Sky in Your Hand’ category will receive a voucher to the value of €250 for photographic / telescopic equipment, along with passes to the three sites of the Astronomical Observatories of Ireland – Dunsink Observatory (Race to Space Escape Room), Armagh Observatory and Birr Castle Demesne.

It is DIAS’s intention that the winning and highly commended images will also be included in an exhibition at DIAS during 2024.

How to Enter?

  • Read the Terms & Conditions for full details on eligibility criteria.
  • Provide as much detail as possible about your entries so that the judges can fully understand what they are looking at, and how the picture came about.
  • Select the category you are entering your photo(s) in.
  • Complete the entry form with the required details for each photograph that you are entering (max. 2 photographs per category and you must complete individual entry details for each photograph you submit).
  • Please ensure photo format is HIGH-RES JPEG (between 2MB and 5MB per file).
  • Your entry must be submitted by 5pm on Friday, 17th May 2024.



  • Prof Peter Gallagher

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

  • Michael McCreary

    Michael McCreary has been a keen amateur astronomy observer for many years. He is President of the Irish Astronomical Society and member of the I.A.S. astrophotography group and organiser of many astronomy events, including "Images of Starlight", public astronomy talks and sidewalk astronomy nights. His hobbies include repairing telescopes.

  • Niamh Breathnach

    Niamh Breathnach is a Director at Alice Public Relations. She has been with Alice since 2016, and has worked with DIAS on their communications and PR since 2017.

  • Brenda Fitzsimons

    Brenda Fitzsimons is the Picture Editor at leading Irish newspaper - The Irish Times. She was appointed editor at the Times in 2018, following a career there as a staff photographer. Her career as a staff photographer took her across the globe - covering conflicts and their aftermath in Afghanistan, Haiti, Libya, Laos, South Sudan and Myanmar. She has documented the lives of pregnant women in Sierra Leon to women living in the slums of Bangalore collecting human hair for European salons.


View All