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Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition 2009


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Had an Email from Will I guess a few people must have received it too, anyway thought I would let you all know about the Competition.

Not sure if it’s already been posted on the Forum.


Hi everyone,

Just to give you all a quick heads up about a new astro-imaging competition that’s just been launched.

In association with BBC Sky At Night Magazine, the Royal Observatory Greenwich has just launched the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition 2009, a global competition that aims to find the best astronomy pictures from around the world.

You can find out about the competition, read the rules and join up to submit your images at the competition’s website here:


There will be a free exhibition of the winning images later on in the year, at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

There are several categories, to cover all your imaging interests, including:

Earth and Space

Our Solar System

Deep Space As well as Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year for entrants under 16 years of age.

The overall winner of the competition will receive £1000 and you can see full details of the prizes here


As Official Media Partner of the competition Sky At Night magazine will be keeping you up-to-date with news of the competition, so make sure to check the magazine regularly!

Best regards,


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Has anyone else read this in the Flickr group?

Are we allowing robotic scope images?

Nick Howes says:

Is this permitted then?

Hi Nick,

Thanks for your question. I'm sure it's something others would like to know too and you're right to spot that some photos in the group have been taken using robotic telescopes such as the Faulkes Telescope. But to answer your question, there's nothing in either the group rules or competition rules to stop you adding or entering photos taken with a robotic telescope. We only stipulate that the photos you add are taken by you and have been processed by you. They must be your original work. We'd like as many keen amateurs as possible to get out there and photograph space - whatever the kit they use. This is the reason that the competition rules also say that the judging panel may ask about your processing method if your photo is shortlisted for a prize, and also why we've asked entrants to tell us how they took the image. I hope that answers your question. I'd also like to mention that you can add up to five photos per month to the astrophoto Flickr group. You can then enter five in total to this year's Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, but need to do so via the competition website. I look forward to seeing more of your spectacular photos!


Royal Observatory, Greenwich

Rather an oversight on the organisers behalf I think.
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The competition rules states the following

Photos that have already been widely published or that have won a prize in a major competition (one receiving more than 500 photos) are not eligible. Photos taken more than two years before the competition closing date are also not eligible.

Does this mean that if the image has been posted on a site like SGL or similar that it cannot be used for the competition?



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Whilst I enjoy looking at the robotic and remote scope images with the benefits of superb locations and fabulous scope and camera combos... its not really in the spirit of "amateur" astrophotography......

Just my 8 farthings worth...


Oh... Nice article in AN Steve R and your M42 in the SW190 MN review Steve L

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I have posted my two-pennorth worth on the Flickr thread.

Flickr: Discussing Are we allowing robotic scope images? in Astronomy Photographer of the Year

I would suggest anyone else peed off with this ruling makes their feelings known to the organisers.

And well done Kevin, spotting a Parker/Carboni image submitted by a third party.

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i`m sure they will take the whole remote scope issue into consideration when judging, but it does kind of suck :) Its an unfortunate oversight by someone, and its going to spoil the whole event because of it.

As an occasional user of remote scope (when the cloudcover finally makes me flip out!), I am fully aware that by taling images from a remote scope, I havent learnt anything except some processing time on the data. I didnt set up the mount, install the OTAs and Cameras, polar align the whole rig, cable it, get the software talking to everything... i just paid money and got some data back. Really, the person who "took" the image (rather than just processing it) is the person(s) who did actually install all the hardware/software on site. I just paid them and their organisation to take the data for me. This is allowed under the current rules.

What is the difference between the above, and one person asking someone else to take the images on their system, and passing the data back to the first person again? (e.g. Noel/Greg, or Neil Fleming and his buddy). In the Greg/Noel example, Greg has set up the hardware/software in the UK and Noel does the image processing. The only difference is that money has not been exchanged for this service, and yet this is NOT allowed by the current rules. (I`m not dissing Greg/Noel, i`m just using it as an example of how messed up the rules are).

If the cloud cover ever breaks, will I submit any images? Not sure, still thinking about that. If the cloud cover doesnt break, would I use remote scope time and submit those images? Hell no...

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I have posted my two-pennorth worth on the Flickr thread.

And well done Kevin, spotting a Parker/Carboni image submitted by a third party.

Pretty "daft" if he was seriously submitting it as he left the border with all the info on it...

Nice collection of images building up there as you would expect really... only looked through the first 29 "pages"...

Nice to see a couple of former SGL POW images up there...


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That was kind of my point. I have access to Faulkes North and South, and believe it or not, access to another rather larger scope in the USA as well, but have only posted images taken with 80mm refractors, the 190MN and a 50/80mm H-alpha scope.

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I suppose it's a case of where would you draw the line...

Even on SGL there is a whole range of different level of "equipment" used from Cameraphones, Point and shoot digicams , webcams, DSLR's, dedicated CCD's covering a few pounds to high £1000's same for scopes and mounts and this is in the "amateur" sector... let alone the variation in processing software and skills

When looking at and commenting on an image I always try look at the kit that was used to take it...as its reasonable to expect vastly different "quality" in the finished product...

It really depends what the competition was setout to "achieve"...

as its the....

"Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition 2009"

not the

" Amateur Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition 2009"

or the

"Backyard Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition 2009"

Bit of a Muggers Buddle perhaps...


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Easy...limit the images to commercially available amateur telescopes, that the user OWNS. Okay...so this does not stop the RCOS brigade in Namibia posting, but, it would draw a nice line and stop me posting an image like this from Faulkes.

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I find this to be pointless really ,its like putting a formula one car in with a a fornula ford , and saying , lets find the fastest guy around the circuit , a bit off topic ,i know but its just how i see it , i neither have the skies for top quality work and i only have low cost gear,and thats not sour grapes , its a fact .

R warner


Old Moaning Rog

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Indeed. What's to stop someone like Joe Zawodny, a leading amateur-imager and NASA Research Scientist, submitting an image captured with a NASA probe, that he has access to?


Hence my quip about borrowing Hubble for a couple of hours :)

Where does one draw the line.


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