Comet ISON Photo Contest NSF
October 28, 2013

NSF Kicks Off Comet ISON Photo Contest

[ Watch the Video: Get Ready For The Comet ISON Photo Contest ]

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

The National Science Foundation (NSF), along with Astronomy and Discover magazines are offering $2,500 to whomever takes the best photo of Comet ISON. Contest organizers said they are asking photographers to get a creative shot of the highly anticipated comet this fall, starting now through January 15, 2014.

“We challenge photographers, amateur and professional, to explore the Comet through cameras & tripods, piggyback cameras or through the scope. The competition is an opportunity for photographers to consider the Comet in a different light,” the NSF said about the contest.

According to the terms, entries must include a visual of Comet ISON, as well as information about where and when the image was taken. Participants can submit up to three entires, each of which must be submitted in only one category only.

Photographers must capture the comet in at least 2 megapixel images in order to ensure it can be reproduced for publication and promotional purposes, said the NSF. Preliminary judging rounds will last through the week of January 22, while the semifinal rounds begin February 3. Winners of the contest will be announced in the June issue of Astronomy magazine.

Images will be scored by a panel of judges consisting of scientists, engineers, astrophotographers, astronomers and scientific visualization artists.

The three categories, all of which feature a $2,500 first place prize and a $1,000 second place prize, include: Cameras & Tripods; Piggyback Cameras; and Through the Scope. There is also going to be a $1,500 “People’s Choice” prize awarded based on public votes.

Comet ISON will be skimming the sun’s outer atmosphere on Thanksgiving Day 2013. If the comet survives this brush with the sun then it could emerge as one of the brightest comets in years.

“Bright comets excite astronomy enthusiasts like few other sky events, and so there will be enormous interest in viewing the comet among amateur astronomers and the public at large. ISON could be as bright as the planet Venus in the early morning sky,” NSF said.

The comet could be visible to the naked-eye by the end of October, and its peak brightness will be just after Thanksgiving. Scientists believe Comet ISON will remain visible to the naked eye into early January 2014.

“To commemorate this grand sky event, head out this fall to capture your finest images of Comet ISON, and you could win cash prizes and have your photo featured in Astronomy magazine,” the contest organizers said.