A ghost ship and galactic dance win astrophotography contest

A ghost ship and galactic dance win astrophotography contest


The DIAS competition showed multiple breathtaking photos of the cosmos, with Adrian Hendroff and Sara Harvey taking the top spots.

Several awe-inspiring photos have taken the top prizes at the ‘Reach for the Stars’ astrophotography competition, run by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS).

The winners were selected from more than 70 entries, which contained a range of breathtaking photos that show the surface of the Earth and the deep wonders of the cosmos.

Taking the top prize in the Back on Earth category was an image of the Milky Way over the Port Láirge Shipwreck in Wexford. This ‘Ghost Ship’ image was captured by Adrian Hendroff, from Stepaside, Dublin.

A rusty ship laying under a night sky, which shows large amounts of stars and gases from space.

‘Ghost Ship’. Image: Adrian Hendroff

Prof Peter Gallagher, head of astrophysics at DIAS and a member of the judging panel, said the image “mesmerised the panel” when they saw it.

“The Milky Way captured above the ship in all its glory is perfectly framed with the rusting ship, seaweed laced mudflats and the faint glow of the Northern Lights,” Gallagher said. “It’s clear a huge amount of thought and creativity went into capturing this image.”

In addition to winning this category of the astrophotography contest, Hendroff also took the top spot in the Public Choice category, receiving the most votes for his ‘Illuminate’ image.

Image of a lighthouse with a light shining from the top and the night sky above it. Stars and gases are visible in the sky above.

‘Illuminate’. Image: Adrian Hendroff


A galactic dance

The winning photo for the Out of this World category shows the Whirlpool Galaxy, located 31m light years from Earth. This galaxy has a face-on appearance when viewed from the Earth, with a distinct spiral structure and galactic core.

An image of a spiral galaxy, with other stars visible in the space around it.

‘M51 – A Galactic Dance’. Image: Sara Harvey

This photo, called ‘M51 – A Galactic Dance’ was captured by Sara Harvey from Bishopstown, Cork. Gallagher said the level of detail captured in the photo was a “technically brilliant image” with a high level of detail.

“It is well framed to include many points of interest including the hot, young stars and yellow, older stars within the winding, graceful arms of the galaxy,” Gallagher said. “You can also see some tiny galaxies floating in the background and its companion galaxy NGC 5195 is clearly visible.”

The DIAS Reach for the Stars competition is run in partnership with The Irish Times and is sponsored by Alice Public Relations. The winning photos and runner-ups are available to view on the competition website.

Meanwhile, DIAS researchers are leading a project that aims to use AI to get faster and more accurate warnings about space weather events like solar flares.

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