Imaging Contest Rules

New for 2024:
(a) A new Eclipse category
(b) we will continue to recognize the Imager Of The Year (IOTY)
(c) we will continue to recognize the 2 Most Improved imagers
(d) the maximum number of submissions is 6 plus 1 Timelapse

Please read thoroughly.

The Starfest astrophotography imaging contest is a competition for all levels of astrophotographers.  It is open to anyone attending Starfest except current judges.  In recent years sponsors have donated generous prizes to the winners.  Photos are entered by class (see below) and will be scored by a panel of judges.  Astro photos can be taken from any location but must be captured in the preceeding 12 months.  Winners will be announced during a stage presentation on Saturday night at Starfest.


  • Time Lapse video.  1 award is given.  Maximum duration per video = 1 minute..  One Time Lapse per entrant.  Contact the Director via to make file sharing arrangements.
  • Astro Star Trails and Landscape (ASL).  1st, 2nd, 3rd place winners are selected.
  • Solar System (SS).  1st, 2nd, 3rd place winners are selected.
  • Eclipse photos (EP).  1 winner will be selected.
  • Deep Sky Objects (DSO).  1st, 2nd, 3rd place winners are selected.  When the pool of entries is notable, 4th place titles have been established.
  • In the event that there are not enough entries for the year, divisions may be combined.


  • The Director reserves the right to disqualify any photo or video that doesn’t meet the contest rules (below).
  • The identity of the judges will be disclosed before and during Starfest.  Judges are typically highly accomplished imagers.  Most have won 1st place at Starfest at least once.  If you have a strong portfolio and want to be a judge, contact the Director.
  • The NYAA assumes no liability for any misuse of copyright and is not responsible for any loss of or damage to any images submitted.

  • Imager Of The Year (IOTY)
  • Automatically calculated and given to the imager who scores highest for quality, quantity and diversity of images.
  • Mathematically determined by the sum of :
    • average score of an entrant’s pics (out of 100), plus
    • 2 points for each photo, plus
    • 3 points for each category (DSO / SS / ASL / EP / TL)

  • Most Improved
  • 2 contestants selected based on the delta between current and preceding year’s scores

Contest Rules

  1. Entrants should be registered for Starfest prior to sending images.
  2. Winners must pick up their prizes and trophies at the showing on Saturday night.  Items will not be mailed out.
  3. The competition is open to all Starfest attendees with the exception of current judges.
  4. All entries must contain an Astronomical theme.
  5. All components of an image must have been captured by the entrant.
  6. All elements of image capture must be accomplished by the entrant, including equipment setup, control, alignment, and target acquisition.  All work in creating an image that involves the application of more than nominal skill must be done by the entrant.  Images acquired remotely using rented equipment are not permitted.  Otherwise this would just be an image processing competition.
  7. Maximum number of submissions = 6 images plus 1 time-lapse
  8. By virtue of submitting an entry, the entrant certifies the work as not infringing on anyone else’s copyright and permits the NYAA to reproduce, in printed or electronic form, all or part of the entered material free of charge for publication and/or display in media related to the promotion of Starfest and to effectively operate and promote the competition.
  9. Images should have been acquired between July 2023 - July 2024
  10. No identifying information (e.g. title, photographer) should be pasted on the image itself.
  11. Images must be submitted as JPEGs.  Timelapses are typically mp4.
  12. Images will be shown using a high definition projector, therefore submissions should be in the ballpark of 1920 x 1080 pixels, Landscape mode, for best viewing at the show.  Having said this, any aspect ratio will of course be accepted.  Some sensors are intentionally square (solar, planetary, IMX 533 etc…) and you are welcome to send the images as they are.
  13. When naming your images, include only the Division and target name (eg – “DSO-M52”).  Do not enter more info in the file name. 
  14. Please include technical details of the image(s) in the email (location, dates, target, camera, mount, scope, filters, exposure times etc.)
  15. The prizes (if any) are limited to one award per person.

Submitting your Images:

  • DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING IMAGES IS: 11:59pm EDT Saturday July 6th 2024
  • The entrant is responsible for ensuring his/her entries are delivered to the Director by .