2015 Photography Competition

The 2015 Victorian Schools Photography Competition theme is

How we see the Universe


This competition will be open to all Victorian school students and teachers.

The photographs can explore any idea of light in the two main categories. For example;

  • Light
    • Optical illusions
    • Light Technology
    • Vision
  • Astronomy
    • Planets
    • Deep Sky
    • Sunsets
    • Constellations

Photographs that demonstrate how light and optical technology is an integral part of our life, our future and in the development of society in line with the aims of the International Year of Light, or along the National Science Week theme of “Making Waves – the science of light” will be considered favourably.

High Resolution poster

High Resolution poster

Use the High Resolution poster  to promote the competition at your school.

Resources and inspiration:

Post production for images is a big part of Photography and especially Astrophotography. Here are some recommended software and tutorials:

Below are the terms and conditions for the competition:

  1. Only open to students and teachers from Victorian schools.
  2. Entries are due by 11:59pm Monday, 10th August, 2015.
  3. There is a limit of 2 entries per competitor
  4. Entry is free.
  5. Category 1: Astrophotography Possible images include planetary, deep sky, lunar, solar, constellations, atmospheric, and landscape. Cameras which may be used (but not exclusively) – DSLR with and without the telescope, CMOS or CCD cameras connected to the telescope. The use of smart phone or instant cameras is not excluded, but the image quality needs to be satisfactory (see point 9 below).
  6. Category 2: Light – Create and image your own optical illusion and demonstrate how light can trick the eye. Demonstrate how technology has made an impact on how and where we use light.
  7. Each entry must include a completed application form emailed to jacinta.den@unimelb.edu.au to accompany the image. The following information will be required.
    • Name and email address (you must use a school email)
    • School
    • Teacher contact details and teacher endorsement
    • Title
    • Equipment used, e.g. camera, telescope
    • Camera settings e.g. exposure time, ISO setting
    • Post image processing, e.g. software used, stacked image, stitched image
  8. Files must be of a high resolution for printing and display. e.g. 2-3 MB JPEG files or equivalent for A3 size. The maximum printed image will be A3.
  9. Prizes will be awarded during the Astronomy and Light Festival on Saturday 22nd August at Scienceworks and prize winners will be displayed at the Melbourne Planetarium. Finalists will be notified by the 14th August and will be invited to attend the festival.
  10. Competition winners decided by the panelists will be final. The judges reserve the right to disqualify any images that do not meet the criteria set out in these Term and Conditions.
  11. Permission to use and display the submitted images will be assumed on entry to the competition. All entries will be digitally displayed on the Telescopes in Schools and the Astronomy and Light Festival websites. All images will be duly credited to the author.

The competition is brought to you by the TiS program, University of Melbourne, the Laby Foundation and Museum Victoria, with support from CAASTRO and the Optical Society of Australia.



I was just looking at the stats for how many people have been through the program over the last 3 and 1/2 years. Let’s just say it is pretty huge and a LOT of people have been looking through our telescopes. So here are the numbers as of the beginning of this week;

Our overall attendance is currently 7256 people looking through telescopes, attending talks and doing astronomy activities.

The breakdown;

927 teachers

4688 students

772 parents

896 siblings and community members

And to the majority of these events at least 1 Astronomer has attended, totalling 303 astronomer visits.

We have also totalled 245 events since the beginning of the program.

Given that I have attended the majority of the events – where I can, it is a huge surprise that I have met, talked to and shared the night sky with so many amazing people. With a mix of new and regular participants every session, it’s hard to imagine that everyone is still so excited at every event. I guess looking at the night sky and hearing about Astronomy never gets old!

The Mathematics of the Sun

This article was written by Robert Davie from Taylors Lakes Secondary College and the samples of student work were volunteered by students from Nhat Bui’s year 8 maths class.

This program exists to encourage student interest in the natural world around them and so lead them on to the study of the sciences as they progress through school. Using the telescope to make day-time observations of the Sun has proven popular over the last couple of years with two to three hundred students viewing the Sun each time Jacinta visits us. The year seven Sun project that accompanies these observations is generally well done by students across this year level as can be seen on past posts to TiS website.

So, can the telescope be used to help make the subject of Mathematics more relevant, if not more appealing to students? It seems to me the topic on Ratio and Proportion could be made more relevant in the eyes of students by showing them how the concepts they study in class are used by astronomers to gain meaningful knowledge about our Sun. This is also an area of mathematics that students tend to find notoriously difficult.

To that end I looked around and found some material at http://spacemath.gsfc.nasa.gov/ which the following task was created and trialled with some year eight classes at this school. We are still experimenting with the task in terms of finding the right level so as to make it accessible to all students.

The task is attached below along with four examples of work submitted by students from one of our maths classes. I am hoping that contributors to this blog will suggest improvements to this task, so please feel free to try this with your classes and use the TiS website to discuss your experiences. The question is, how can we use the telescope and tasks like these to promote an interest in the study of maths and science?

Year 8 Number Assessment Task – DRAFT version 2

Students work






Social Media

I thought an explanation might be in order for why I’ve been a little absent on the website.

Two reasons really.

The first seems to be that I have hit my maximum Social Media brain quota. It appears maintaining a blog, Twitter account (@scopesinSchools) and the NEW Facebook page is all a bit too much. 🙂 But do come over and like our Facebook page for brief accounts of our Astronomy adventures and I will work on the blog and fill you in on the last six months (where did the year go?!).

The second thing that is taking up a fair swag of my time is the organisation of the Astronomy and Light Festival also with a blog, Facebook page and Twitter handle @AstroFestVic and you can follow #ALiV2015 for all of the latest news.

The Festival is part of National Science Week and the International Year of Light and the Mount Burnett Observatory and Telescopes in Schools have teamed up to put a great night on for anyone in Melbourne on August 22nd at Scienceworks. With heaps of activities for everyone, lots of science and heaps of entertainment, make sure you put that date in your diary!

Tickets go on sale very soon!