Do you have to be a professional astronomer using a huge telescope in orbit or on a mountaintop to take remarkable pictures of celestial objects? It helps, but it is not required. Today, new technologies and innovative uses of old technologies have made it possible for just about anyone to capture fascinating images of the sky. Amateur astronomers today can even make important discoveries, as they have throughout history, often with equipment they have built themselves.
So how do you picture what an astronomer does? We'd like to see your pictures! First Light highlights some of the wonders of our universe as seen and captured by amateur astronomers. Entries may range from images of distant galaxies to interesting atmospheric phenomena on our own planet. Selected submissions will be featured both on this web site and in a special display in the National Air and Space Museum's Explore the Universe gallery.
All submissions provided in the format below will be considered. Preference will be given to entries showing unusual observations or taken using equipment which was home-built or modified by the observer.
All entries must be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org . No hard copies can be accepted.
Entries must include:
1. Up to three photographs or other graphics in .JPG format showing what you observed.
2. A caption of not more than 100 words describing each image.
3. A description or photograph of the equipment used to create the image. Pictures that show the observer with the equipment are preferred.
4. A brief explanation (not more than 250 words) of how the images were made, highlighting techniques or equipment modifications of interest.
5. The name, age, address, phone number, and email address of the observer(s). Only the observer's name and location will be included in the public display. If you would like a personal web address posted as part of a featured display, the URL should also be included with the entry.
Entries must follow this format and be submitted uniquely to First Light. Submissions copied to mailing lists or newsletters will not be accepted.
All entrants grant the Smithsonian Institution non-exclusive rights to use submitted material in programming and promotional media, subject to proper identification of source. The Smithsonian Institution also reserves the right to edit any entry before posting in the gallery or on the web. Participants will be notified by email before their entries are displayed; entries may be removed from display without notice.
Questions? Contact us, at email@example.com .