Astrophotography Competitions & Contests For You To Enter [2021]

Here we have compiled a list of astrophotography competitions from all over the world so that you can find the right ones for you to enter your astronomy images and maybe win some prizes (or at least some pride!).

We include information on when and how to enter, as well as prizes and judging criteria.

1. Royal Museums Greenwich Astronomy Photographer of the Year Competition

This competition is probably the most prominent astrophotography competition in the world.

It is run by Greenwich Museum in London, UK that’s home to the Greenwich Observatory. 2021 will be the 13th year that the competition has been running. 

Since 2017 it has been known as the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year (or just Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year) due to sponsorship from financial firm, Insight Investment.

For the past few years, Skies & Scopes has done a detailed analysis of the winning images, which covers which type of images are most successful and what equipment is used. Check that article out for an in-depth overview of what can be found out from reviewing 250+ images.

When and how to enter

For the 2021 competition, entries opened on 11 January 2021 and images can be submitted up to the deadline of 5 March 2021 (at midday UK time (GMT)).

Any individual can enter up to ten images and there is a £10 fee to enter (although free for children entering the young competition).

The link to enter is here.

Rules and categories

There are main eight categories that adults can enter that depend on what the image is of:

  1. Aurorae
  2. Galaxies
  3. Our Moon
  4. Our Sun
  5. People and Space
  6. Planets, Comets and Asteroids
  7. Skyscapes
  8. Stars and Nebulae

And there is also three additional categories that don’t depend on what object is being photographed:

  1. Young competition – for children up to 15 years old
  2. The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer – for people who started astrophotography in the year prior (since January 2020, for the 2021 competition) and have not entered the competition before.
  3. The Annie Maunder Prize for Image Innovation – for creating new images using data captured by others (i.e. from a NASA space telescope like Hubble, or from a large Earth-based observatory).

Judging and prizes

There is a judging panel of 11 individuals that decide the winners.

The prizes available are:

  • Overall winner: £10,000
  • Each category winner: £1,500
  • Category runner-up: £500
  • Category ‘highly commended’: £250
  • Special prize winners: £750

For any more information about this competition, see here.

2. Atik Cameras Astrophotography Competition

Atik are one of the leading manufacturers of dedicated astrophotography cameras.

They have run an annual imaging contest that goes back to 2009.

When and how to enter

The 2021 Atik astrophotography contest is open for the whole year, with a final submission deadline of 14 January 2022.

Here is the link to enter.

Rules and categories

There are no specific categories, but it is a competition for deep sky astrophotography images (which is what Atik cameras specialize in).

The only rule is that images entered have to be taken with an Atik camera.

Judging and prizes

The winner is decided by Atik themselves.

The prize is an Atik 16200 camera, which is worth over $3000.

See here for any further information about the 2021 Atik astrophotography competition.

3. Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) ‘Reach for the Stars’ astrophotography competition

The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies are holding their first ever astrophotography competition in 2021.

When and how to enter

Entrance opened in December 2020 and will close on 2 April 2021.

Rules and categories

The photographs have to have been taken in Ireland to be considered for the contest. Entrants can be any kind of astronomy image.

Judging and prizes

The judging panel is made up of three individuals from DIAS, the Irish Astronomical Society and sponsors, Alice PR & Events.

The prize is a package that includes a voucher for EUR500 plus the images will be printed in the Irish Times and featured in a DIAS exhibition.

For further information about this competition, see here.

4. nPAE Astrophotography Competition

Nottingham Precision Astro Engineering (nPEA) are a UK-based manufacturer of astronomy equipment and accessories and have periodic astrophotography competitions.

Currently live at the time of writing is their Northern Hemisphere Objects contest.

When and how to enter

Closing date for entries is 31 March 2021.

Rules and categories

Images can be of an astronomical object photographed in the northern hemisphere sky. This can include, the sun, moon, planets or deep sky objects.

Judging and prizes

nPEA share the shortlisted images on their Facebook page and then allow voting by members to decide the winner. 

The prizes are $270 for first place and then equipment and vouchers for runners-up.

Further information can be found here.

5. Hevelianum AstroCamera 2021 International Astrophotography Competition

Hevelianum is a science museum in Gdansk, Poland and they have held this annual astrophotography contest since 2011.

When and how to enter

The competition opened on 28 January 2021 and will close on 30 April 2021. The winners will be announced on 31 May 2021.

Rules and categories

There are three categories:

  1. Deep Space Objects
  2. Solar System Objects
  3. Astro-landscape

It doesn’t appear that you have to be Polish or have taken the images from within Poland to be eligible to win and so is an international contest.

Judging and prizes

Prizes go up between 900 and 1,500 Polish Zloty (around US$250-400) for category winners, with smaller cash prizes for runners-up.

The jury of made of Polish astronomers, astrophotographers and associates of the museum.

For more information, see here.

6. South Downs National Park Astrophotography Competition

The South Downs is an area of Southern England that has the status of an international dark sky reserve (despite being relatively close to London).

The local government body runs this annual astrophotography contest that ties in with its annual Dark Skies Festival.

When and how to enter

Entries for the 2020/21 competition closed on 11 January 2021.

Rules and categories

There are three categories:

  1. South Downs Dark Skyscapes
  2. Living Dark Skies
  3. Our Magnificent Moon

For the first category, entrants would need to take images from within the South Downs National Park, but the other two categories are open to anyone from anywhere in the world.

Judging and prizes

There are prizes for the winners of each category, with first place getting £150, second £75, and third £50.

For more information, see here.

7. Astrofest Astrophotography Competition and Exhibition

Astronomy WA (Western Australia) host their annual astrophotography competition that supports the (also) annual Astrofest exhibition.

When and how to enter

The competition was open for entries from 1 October to 4 December 2020.

The winners are to be announced on 20 February 2020.

Rules and categories

There are six categories:

  1. Deep Sky
  2. Solar
  3. Lunar
  4. Planetary
  5. Nightscape
  6. Timelapse video

The competition is open to residents of Western Australia only.

Judging and prizes

The winning images will be displayed at the touring Astrofest exhibition in 2021.

The are a range of pretty good prizes donated by sponsors, with the overall winner getting a Sony A7 III that retails for around US$2000.

All further info can be found here.

8. The David Malin Awards

The Central West Astronomical Society in Australia runs the annual David Malin Awards astrophotography competition.

When and how to enter

The 2020 competition was open to entrants from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020, with the winners announced in July that year. 

The 2021 contest is not yet open.

Rules and categories

There are eight categories:

  1. Deep Sky
  2. Wide-Field
  3. Nightscapes
  4. Solar System
  5. Animated Sequences:
  6. Scientific
  7. Aesthetic
  8. Smartphone astrophotography
  9. Junior (18 years old and younger)

Entrance is available for Australian nationals only. There is a fee of AUS$15 for entry.

Judging and prizes

Winners are decided by the judge, Dr David Malin and prizes are made up of Canon photography equipment.

Further information about the contest can be found here and here.

9. NASA Astronomy Photograph of the Day (APOD)

Not an annual contest like the others on this list, but to have one of your photos featured as an ‘APOD’ is quite an honor.

Each day an astronomy image is crowned Astronomy Photograph of the Day and shared on the website.

When and how to enter

You can submit photos for consideration at any time.

Rules and categories

Any astrophotography image can be considered and winners can range from DLSR nightscapes to Hubble deep space photos.

Judging and prizes

No prizes, just pride!

Featured images are chosen by the site’s editors.

The APOD site can be seen here and the submission page here.

Are there any astrophotography competitions that we’ve missed?

Please get in touch either in the comments below or by email if you know of any other relevant competition from anywhere in the world. 

We want to keep this page up-to-date and as complete as possible for finding out information on current astrophotography competitions.

We have kept this list specifically to astronomy imaging contests, but budding photographers may also have success entering more broad photography competitions, for instance, entering Milky Way skyscapes in general landscape photography competitions.

Good luck!


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