The 2013 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest is underway

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Monday, April 01, 2013

April is Global Astronomy Month, and that means the fourth International Earth and Sky Photo Contest is underway. Organized by The World at Night (TWAN), the Global Astronomy Month project (an effort by Astronomers Without Borders), and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the contest is open to anyone of any age from now through Earth Day, April 22.

The contest was founded by TWAN and the Dark Skies Awareness project in 2008 as a regional program. It expanded to worldwide scope in 2009 during the International Year of Astronomy. In 2012, participants from about 50 countries submitted a wonderful collection of nightscape images.

Submitted photographs must be created in the “TWAN style” — showing both Earth and the sky — by combining elements of the night sky (stars, planets, the Moon, or celestial events) as the backdrop to a beautiful, historic, or notable location or landmark. This “landscape astrophotography” is similar to general “nightscape photography” but with more attention to the sky, astronomical perspectives, and celestial phenomena.

The contest theme, “Dark Skies Importance,” has two categories: “Beauty of the Night Sky” and “Against the Lights.” Photos submitted to the contest should impress on people how important and amazing the starry sky is or how bad the problem of light pollution has become. Both categories illustrate how light pollution affects our lives. Photographers can submit images in one or both categories. The contest organizers encourage participants to view examples of such photos by the winners in the previous years: 2012, 2011, and 2010. Winners this year will be announced in the first week of May.

A wide range of prizes for first, second, and third place in both categories will be awarded. The prizes include photography and stargazing equipment and will be announced in April.

For details on how to submit images, the judges, and the requirements for all entries, go to

Remember to submit your photos to by April 22, 2013. Good luck!

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