National Park’s embrace the darkness astrophotography competition returns for a chance to win £100

Snow in Springtime by Neil Jones WINNER SOUTH DOWNS DARK SKYSCAPES 2021 astrophotography competition

Astrophotography competition categories and judges

Autumn and winter bring shorter days for exploring the South Downs, but the night-time offers its own display of the natural world.

The National Park is asking people to capture the wonders of the night sky as the astrophotography competition returns for its third year. As one of only 20 International Dark Sky Reserves, the National Park is one the best places to stargaze in the UK.

This year photographers have the chance of winning up to £100 for an image in either of the two categories:

  • South Downs Dark Skyscapes – Can you capture a dramatic photograph of the landscape showing the cosmos above it?
  • Nature At Night – Can you capture an amazing shot of living things in the National Park? This could include wildlife, people, trees or plants!

The runner-up prize in each category will be £75 and all submitted images must be taken within the South Downs National Park.

A selection of photos submitted in the astrophotography competition will be shared throughout the National Park’s Dark Skies Festival next February. Details of the festival will be announced at a later date.

Judging the astrophotography competition will be “Dark Skies” Dan Oakley, a Lead Ranger for the National Park, Steve Broadbent, Chairman of Hampshire Astronomical Group, and Vanessa Rowlands, Chair of the National Park Authority.

“The standard of the competition has been terrific in the past”

Dan said: “We’re into the season of longer nights and it’s the perfect time to go out and stargaze in the South Downs National Park. The National Park is actually one of the best places to stargaze in the world and it’s quite amazing when you consider how close we are to big cities such as London, Southampton, Portsmouth and Brighton.

“We have 10 Dark Sky Discovery sites in the National Park and they are the perfect spots for admiring some immense views of the universe. Just be sure to pack a hot drink, a blanket and some warm clothes!

“The standard of the competition has been terrific in the past and we’re looking forward to seeing what this year brings, whether you’re a seasoned astrophotographer or embracing the darkness for the first time! Good luck to all participants in the contest.”

How to enter the competition and stargazing sites

The deadline for entries to the astrophotography competition is midnight on Wednesday, 11th January 2023.

Details of the Dark Sky Discovery Sites can be found at

For entry details and to download an application form visit


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