Calling on Kilkenny stargazers – exciting astrophotography competition launched!

Calling on Kilkenny stargazers - exciting astrophotography competition launched!


‘Reach for the Stars’, the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) astrophotography competition, has returned for the third year running and is calling on Kilkenny’s budding astro-photographers to submit their images.

The competition, which opened for entries today (23.03.23), is seeking the best astro-photographs taken in Ireland over the period 1st May 2022 to 28th April 2023. It is calling for submissions under two distinct categories:

  • Out of this World: Images depicting scenes / features or elements of astronomical interest. For example, deep space images or images of the solar system.
  • Back on Earth: Astro-landscape images that depict a feature or element of astronomical interest and capture elements such as nature, cityscapes, buildings or monuments, land, or water.

Launching the competition today, Dr. Eucharia Meehan, CEO and Registrar of DIAS, said: “DIAS is delighted to launch the ‘Reach for the Stars’ competition for 2023.

“Over the last two years we have been treated to a vast array of stunning images from photographers in Kilkenny and across the island of Ireland and we’re looking forward to seeing what this year’s entrants have to offer.”

Entries to the ‘Reach for the Stars’ competition will be judged by Brenda Fitzsimons, Picture Editor, The Irish Times; John Flannery, Vice-President, Irish Astronomical Society; Peter Gallagher, Senior Professor and Head of Astronomy and Astrophysics at DIAS and Niamh Breathnach, Director, Alice Public Relations.

Entrants may submit up to two images per category to the competition. The deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday, 28th April.

All entries to the 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.

Prize Package

The winning photographers in the two 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;
  • A VIP tour of DIAS Dunsink Observatory – with the opportunity to peer through Ireland’s largest refractor telescope.
  • One pass for up to four guests for ‘Race to Space’, a fully immersive escape room experience, hosted at DIAS Dunsink Observatory. 
  • A €500 voucher for photographic / telescopic equipment; and
  • A 12-month digital subscription to The Irish Times.

Last year’s winner in the ‘Back on Earth’ category was Felix Sproll from Galway City. His image ‘Milky Way Arch over Pine Island’ captured the Milky Way in a clear night sky over Pine Island at Derryclare Lough in Connemara, Co. Galway.

The winners in the ‘Out of this World’ category were Tom Dineen and Raluca Dana Lica from Naas, Co. Kildare. Their winning image ‘A Fiery Rosette’ captured the Rosette Nebula – an emission nebula in the constellation of Monoceros, located about 5,200 light-years away from Earth.

Further information, including the competition guidelines and entry form, is available at ‘’.