Terms and Conditions for DIAS’s ‘Reach for the Stars’ Astrophotography Competition

Competition Organiser, Partners and Sponsors

  • The ‘Reach for the Stars’ astrophotography competition is being run by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS).
  • The competition media partner is The Irish Times.
  • The competition is being supported by the Astronomical Observatories of Ireland and the Irish Astronomical Society.
  • The competition is being sponsored by Alice Public Relations.

Competition Categories

  • There are five competition 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 must choose which category they want their image to be entered in when completing the submission process.
  • Entrants may submit up to two images per category (two in each of the five categories).

Submitting Images

  • Participation in this competition denotes acceptance of these terms and conditions and any additional competition specific terms and conditions which may be advertised or notified by DIAS.
  • The photographer will maintain the copyright of the submitted image but gives DIAS permission to use the images as detailed below.
  • By submitting an image or images to this competition, you confirm that:
    • The image has been taken and processed by you.
    • The image is your original work.
    • The image was taken on or during: 28th April 2023 to 10th May 2024.
    • You have written consent from any individuals identifiable in the image.
    • The image was taken on the island of Ireland.
    • The image has not previously been published by a news agency, media outlet or picture agency. This includes images published in print and online outlets (excluding personal social media usage).
    • The image has not been published in relation to other competitions.
    • The image was not previously entered into DIAS’s Reach for the Stars competition in 2021, 2022 or 2023.
    • The image does not have a watermark, name or copyright line featured anywhere; and your name is not featured anywhere in the caption.
    • You are aged 18 or over.
  • Digitally modified images are eligible for entry, provided that all elements of the photograph were shot in the same location. Techniques such as exposure blending, stacking and tracking– including stacking exposures of Deep Space Objects taken over multiple nights from the same location are permitted for entry. However, composites of different photos from different locations are not eligible for entry. Artificially introducing any type of object into a photograph is not permitted. Exposure techniques to improve the contrast, dynamic range, signal to noise, etc are allowed, provided they do not alter the true nature of the object captured. The judging panel may ask about your processing method and may also request the original image file(s). Please provide as much detail as possible about digital enhancements and composites in your initial entry form.
  • Photos taken both during daytime and at night are eligible for entry.
  • Images should be submitted as high-res JPEG files, with each image sized at a minimum of 2MB and a maximum of 5MB, and in the dimensions of 16:9.
  • By entering the competition, you hereby grant DIAS and the competition partners permission to use your image(s) for the promotion of the competition in media outlets (printed and online); on social media; in DIAS publications related to the competition; and in future DIAS events, including – but not limited to – any exhibition(s) pertaining to this competition.
  • When an image is submitted and entry finalised, the entry cannot be changed or edited.
  • An individual entrant may submit a maximum of 10 photographs for this competition (max 2 per category). Separate entry details must be completed for each photograph submitted.
  • If more than 10 photographs in total (or more than 2 in one category) are submitted by one individual, the 10 images submitted closest in time to the closing date will be included in the judging process.
  • By entering this competition, I consent to my entry and personal data, including images being processed for the purposes of judging and awarding the competition. All personal information will be used by DIAS in accordance with its Privacy Policy.
  • Entry to the competition shall be deemed full and unconditional acceptance of the terms and conditions, and DIAS reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions.
  • This competition is not open to staff of DIAS (be they scholars, employees or contractors).
  • Group entries are permitted (‘Group Entrants’):
    1. The max number of people permitted in a group entry is two.
    2. Groups must nominate one person (‘Lead Entrant’) to represent them in communication and submit entries on behalf of the group, if no such person is expressly nominated it will be assumed that whoever operates the email account associated with the entry is the nominated representative;
  • Group Entrants must indicate they are representing a group in the entry form;
    1. Each Group Entrant must have one representative member (the ‘Lead Entrant’) to represent the group in communication and shall ensure that they have the written consent of all the copyright holders to enter the Image and may be requested to provide evidence of this.
  • Generative imagery and ‘AI Art’ are not eligible for submission.

Mobile Phone Category – ‘Night Sky in Your Hand’

  • Images submitted to the mobile phone category ‘Night Sky in Your Hand’ must meet the following criteria:
    1. Images in this category can only be shot and/or edited (processed with apps) with mobile phone and tablet devices. No desktop software is permitted.
    2. Images must have been taken with only a smartphone, and without telescopes, of an astronomical scene.

Judging Process

  • Competition entries will be judged by a panel of judges appointed by DIAS.
  • The judges will come from a range of disciplines, including astronomy and photography.
  • Entries will be judged using pre-defined criteria, which will include: technical skills, artistic flair, astronomical understanding, and originality.
  • Should the quality of entries fall below the standard required, the judges reserve the right not to select a winner.
  • There are five categories for this competition. It is intended to have an overall winner of each category.
  • There will also be a ‘public choice’ winner, selected through an online public vote.
  • The judges’ decision is final and binding in all matters and no correspondence will be entered into.


  • If your entry is shortlisted, we will contact you in May 2024 via the contact details you have provided. The competition judges may require additional information (including original image files), and you may be asked additional questions about your image during the judging process.
  • A press announcement will be made about the shortlisted entries and, subsequently, about the winning entries. All entrants that have been shortlisted and / or notified that they have won a prize must not publicise this news until official press announcements has been made by DIAS. DIAS’ PR team will notify you in advance of the timings re. same.


The winning photographers in the four main categories 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 vote will receive a voucher to the value of €250 and the winner of the Mobile Photography category will receive a voucher to the value of €250, 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.

DIAS reserves the right to change prize details without notice and all prizes are subject to availability.

Competition deadline: Friday, 17th May 2024

Data Protection / Privacy Notice

DIAS is the data controller of the personal data you provide as part of your entry. Your personal data is processed under the lawful basis of Legitimate Interest in order to run the ‘Reach for the Stars’ astrophotography competition. The submitted photographs, your first and last name, the location of where the image was taken and equipment used will be published on the DIAS website, the information you provide, such as your address or other contact details will not be published. However, we will use these to update you on the competition. Applications to this competition will be retained for a period of six months from the date of the end of the competition. If you have any queries, details on how to contact us along with our full privacy notice are available here Privacy Policy.