Check out the winner of the DIAS space photo competition

31 May 2021

To the Waters and the Wild. Image: Josh Mathews

The theme of the inaugural astrophotography competition run by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies was ‘reach for the stars’.

Galway man Josh Mathews is the winner of an astrophotography competition for his photo depicting the night sky over Crocnaraw on the Connemara coast.

The competition run by DIAS, the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, carried the theme of ‘reach for the stars’. Mathews, a PhD student at University College Dublin, was selected as the overall winner out of more than 180 entries. His photo was titled ‘To the Waters and the Wild’.

Prof Peter Gallagher, head of astrophysics at DIAS and a member of the competition judging panel, said the standard of entries was excellent and the judging panel had a very difficult job.

Josh’s image captures a beautiful starry night sky against a striking Irish landscape. It is such a dramatic image – there is almost something mystical about it. It also showcases his obvious talent as an astrophotographer,” he said.

Fellow judge Martina Quinn said: “From Neolithic tombs to beaches and urban parks, there were entries from all corners of the country. It was also great to see such variety in the range of skill and creativity – from professional photographers and seasoned astronomers to people with an interest in astronomy or photography just as a hobby.”

The judges also selected Ciarán P O’Donnell for his image ‘Cygnus Mosaic in Hubble Palette’, and Tom O’Hanlon for his photo, ‘North Star Jesuit House’ as runners-up in the inaugural competition.

A swirl of colour and stars in a night sky.

Cygnus Mosaic in Hubble Palette, runner-up. Image: Ciarán P O’Donnell

A spiral of stars in a black night sky above Tullybeg House, Co Offaly.

North Star Jesuit House runner-up. Image: Tom O’Hanlon

A selection of the judges’ top-rated images from the space photo competition is available to view in an online exhibition on the DIAS website.

An outdoor exhibition at DIAS’s premises is planned for the coming weeks, with an exhibition at DIAS Dunsink Observatory expected to follow later in the summer.

Dr Eucharia Meehan, CEO and registrar of DIAS, said the competition build’s on DIAS’s and Ireland’s proud astronomical heritage.

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”, she said.

“We are delighted that Josh, as the winner of this competition, will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit the observatory and see some of the unique equipment housed there.”

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic