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Astrophotography Contest; We Share the same Sky

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Sandeep Poddar
Sandeep Poddarhttps://scientiamag.org
Sandeep Poddar is the convener of Ignited Minds Science Club affiliated with VIGYAN PRASAR. He is a Science Communicator and develops and presents scientific content for Yuvaaz Podcast. He can catch at; http://www.ignitedminds777.wordpress.com/

Astronomy is the oldest science we know. The sun, the moon, and the stars have been the fulcrum of our scientific stretch. We have been able to pinpoint ourselves in the universe with the help of a swarm of dedicated dweeby scientists who spend their life traveling in the corridors of science, seeking nothing but the truth. At present, advancements in technology have shrunk in a digital globe. Some people and organizations are working for the outreach of science to laypeople and enthusiasts. One such organization is Scientia Pakistan. Being a media body present on Web Space, Scientia sports a Digital Magazine Website show-casing the latest scientific breakthroughs and ventures. Here is Scientia, we aiming to spread scientific temper among people and keep organizing events to reward and promote scientific achievements.

Astrophotgraphy contest poster

In May 2020, amid the global lockdown due to the COVID-19 crisis, Scientia was approached by a leading astronomy club ‘RaheQamar’ for co-organizing an online astrophotography contest. Mr. M. Iftekhar Yezdani from Rahe Qamar is a well-known personality working for astronomy popularization in Pakistan. We underwent a glorious collaboration to host this contest, yielding some of the most stunning images ever captured by amateur astronomers around Pakistan. Entries were invited for over a month, and it’s was time to get them judged.

With some rounds of discussions, we (RaheQamar and Scientia) decided to bring on aboard the bests in the business. Dr. Salman Hameed, professor of integrated science and humanities, a Ph.D. in astronomy, graced the judges’ panel miles away from the US. Dr. Farrukh Shahzad, the founder of the Pakistan astronomers, one of the leading and oldest astronomy societies of Pakistan, was also among the judges’ panel. Our next expert to have graced as a judge was Mr. Umair Asim. The guy with his own Zed’s observatories in Lahore, Pakistan, and 30 years of astronomy experience. Upon leaving our participants under the observation of these connoisseurs, we enjoyed marveling at the brilliant images shot by our enthusiastic participants

As the month passed by, we kept on getting entries for the contest, and our esteemed judges engaged themselves in each of the images they examined. They admired the beauty and the uniqueness of the photos and the technical skills and the tools involved. And after severe discussions and intense examination, we had our set of winners, and it was time to unveil the curtains and announce the names.

Astrophotgraphy webinar

On the evening of the 6th of July 2020, the announcement was embedded in a Webinar bringing up all the judges discussing STEM, STEAM, and Astrophotography. The webinar went LIVE on Facebook and astonishingly got overwhelming attention from people across Pakistan.

Winning photograph

Western Veil Nebula by Shoaib Usman Banday
Western Veil Nebula by Shoaib Usman Banday
Cash Prize 6k

Runner Ups

Solar System Collage  by Imran Rashid
Solar System Collage by Imran Rashid
Cash Prize 3k
Partial Lunar Eclipse by Ali Abdullah
Partial Lunar Eclipse by Ali Abdullah
Cash Prize 3k

Mr. Iftekhar Yezdani from RaheQamar moderated the event in an exciting ad way and was joined by Sandeep Poddar from India representing Scientia. Both the moderators sailed the boat with exceptional balance and fun. The panel discussed the wining images and their experiences while judging them. And the names of the winners were announced with great pomp.

The whole of the Scientia Team was having a great time behind the scene and was relived to watch their month-long hard work turning into such a big success. The online show got a warm reception by the astronomy community present over the online space.

Team Scientia feels blessed to have been a part of this venture and thanks RaheQamar for being our partners. We thank and convey our warmest regards to the experts who graced this event with their time and words. A big thanks to all the participants and winners, contributed with the best abilities, skills, and dedication to this venture. With support, we will keep breaking the barriers and reach beyond the boundaries of nations. After all, we all share the same sky!

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