Castlerea astro-photographer chosen for next stage of ‘Reach for the Stars’

‘Not a Breath’. Pic: David Patton

A Roscommon astro-photographer has been chosen for the next stage of the prestigious ‘Reach for the Stars’ astrophotography competition, run by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS). The competition aims to find the best astro-photographs taken in Ireland over the past year.

David Patton, from Castlerea, Roscommon, has been shortlisted in the ‘Back on Earth’ category for his image ‘Not a Breath’.

While a high-profile judging panel will select the overall winning entries in the coming weeks, an online vote was launched on Monday, so members of the public can also have their say.

All shortlisted images can now be viewed on the ‘Reach for the Stars’ website,, and members of the public can cast their vote for their favourite image.

There are two categories in the competition: ‘Out of this World’ and ‘Back on Earth’. The ‘Out of this World’ category features images depicting elements of astronomical interest. The ‘Back on Earth’ category features astro-landscape images that depict an element of astronomical interest and elements such as nature, cityscapes, land or water.

The winning images selected by the judging panel and the public vote will be announced in July, and an outdoor exhibition will be staged by DIAS in August to showcase the best images.

Alongside the Public Choice Award for the winner of the online public vote, the overall winners and runners-up will be chosen by the judging panel for ‘Reach for the Stars’, which includes: Professor Peter Gallagher, Head of Astrophysics at DIAS; Brenda Fitzsimons, Picture Editor of The Irish Times; John Flannery, Vice-President of the Irish Astronomical Society; and Niamh Breathnach, Director, Alice Public Relations.

Dr Eucharia Meehan, CEO and Registrar of DIAS, said: “The online public vote to select the winner of the Public Choice Award brings Irish astrophotography to a much wider audience. Every year we see a large amount of the public engaging with it and voting for their favourite image. It will be a difficult task for people to choose a favourite from the shortlisted entries – and for the judging panel to select an overall winner.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the online gallery and what this year’s photographers have captured in our night sky. I’m so impressed by the level of creativity and skill we have amongst photographers in Roscommon and right across the country”.

Also commenting today, Professor Peter Gallagher of DIAS said: “I’m delighted to return for a third year of judging for the ‘Reach for the Stars’ competition. Each year we have seen exceptional standards from Irish astro-photographers. Photographers have shown great creativity and technical skill capturing everything, from stars and galaxies that are millions of light years away to stunning scenery back on earth.

“We hope the people of Roscommon will get involved again this year and cast their vote for their favourite image”.

Votes for the Public Choice Award are restricted to one vote per person, and voting will close at midday on Monday, June 26th.

DIAS’s ‘Reach for the Stars’ competition is being run in partnership with The Irish Times and is sponsored by Alice Public Relations. The Irish Astronomical Society are initiative supporters.

Further information, including the online gallery and background information on the competition, is available at