The Graham Byrant Memorial Prize has been set up with the aim of encouraging people to produce new astronomy work or to look at something astronomy related in a new way.

The competition will be divided into two groups:

  • Juniors – Those in KS4 or below on 1 Oct 2023. For Scotland this is S4 or below
  • Seniors – Those in KS5 or above on 1 Oct 2024 and all other adults over 18. S5 and above in Scotland

The junior competition will be held first as we anticipate entries for the senior competition may require longer if entrants need to gather data. Also, as it’s the first year we are running this competition we didn’t want to bite of more than we can chew. We will give details on submitting to the senior competition nearer the time; of course, you may begin your project now.

In the Junior category the competitor’s age may be taken into account when judging.
In the Senior category the competitor’s age is ignored.

If the submitted work is by a society (or group, class, etc), then it will be submitted in the age category of the oldest contributing person in that society (or group, class, etc), submitting the work.
Prizes will be awarded to the winner and the runner up along with an FAS Prize Certificate.

  • Juniors: First prize £50, runners up prize £25
  • Seniors: First prize £100, runners up prize £50

Up to two additional FAS Commendable Certificates (no cash prize) may also be awarded in each age category.

If, in any given year, there are no sufficiently good entries then one or more prizes may not be awarded that year.
Where appropriate, all submissions and any accompanying notes or details must be in English.
The competition will be open to anyone except those judging the entries.
The competition will be run in two phases – an initial round of judging by individual societies and then the national competition.

Local FAS Member Societies

All entries must be submitted by a FAS member society.
Local FAS member societies are encouraged to approach their members and local schools, colleges, scouting groups, etc, to submit entries to that local society for judging. Local societies may optionally choose to award a local prize, e.g. cash, book or book-token, in addition to any FAS prize that may eventually be awarded. (Local societies will need to fund any local prizes they choose to award)
We hope Societies see this as a way to engage with not only their members but also with the local community, with the possibility to attract more members.
The local societies may select up to two entries, a local winner and runner-up, in each age category for submission to the FAS judging panel. If societies feel the standard isn’t high enough they do not have to submit them to the FAS.

Selection of Judges

  • There should be between four and six judges for each of the local and FAS judging panels.
  • The local judges should be chosen each year by the local society’s managing committee.
  • The FAS judging panel will be chosen each year by the FAS Council.
  • The FAS judging panel shall not contain any member of the FAS Council except, normally, for the FAS Vice-President who will chair the judging panel.
  • If the Vice-President is unable to commit to chairing the judging panel an alternative person nominated by the Vice-President and subject to approval by the FAS Council may be substituted.
  • If there is no Vice-President in that post then the FAS Council may nominate an alternative FAS Council member or suitable third-party.

In both the local and final competition judgements, the judges’ winning and runner-up selection decisions are final.

Local societies may set their own timeline for judging. Entries for the junior must be submitted to the FAS judging panel by 30 April 2024. This will allow enough time for the final choices by the FAS judging panel to be made by the end of September and announced at the AGM.

Any prize money and/or certificates will be sent to the competitors’ society to be awarded locally.

The FAS reserves the right to publish suitable competition submissions, with credit to the competitor and forwarding local society, in the FAS newsletter.

Submission of entries

  • Entries for the junior must be submitted online via this link (we will publish the link for the senior competition when the junior competition has been concluded) Email submissions will not be accepted unless there are technical issues and the FAS have agreed to this. If submitting a video, please upload to a video sharing platform of your choice (YouTube allows videos to be unlisted which means they can only be seen by people with the URL) and then submitted as a document with the title of the video and the URL.
  • The submitted work should be accompanied by the name of the local society forwarding the competitor’s work and the name or names of all those creating the submission.
  • The accepted file formats are:- pdf, doc, docx, txt, rtf, jpg, jpeg, png, gif Max file size 10MB

There are full instructions on the information to be included in the upload form.

Additional information required for the Junior competition:

As the age-span in this group is wide, the age of creator(s) must be included so the judges may take that into account.

Content Guidelines

The content submitted in the Junior age category may be:

  • A photograph, painting, drawing, collage, model, sculpture or other artwork on an astronomical or space theme.
  • An original piece of writing, factual or fictional, on an astronomical or space theme.
  • A short video on an astronomical or space theme.

It is reasonable and expected that there will be some adult help (e.g., parent or teacher) but the help should be confined to encouragement, hints, guidance and support when working with unfamiliar, messy or potentially dangerous materials or equipment and minor corrections (e.g., spelling or grammar); the core of the work should be from the competitor(s) and the extent of any adult help should be explained.

Group work in this category could include submissions from groups containing one or more people from the junior age range but ages will not be taken into account.
The content submitted in the Senior age category may be:

  • An original piece of factual writing on an astronomical theme.
  • A small project working with astronomical data or images and analysed to produce one or more conclusions. The source data or images may be taken from the internet, another public source or be derived from the competitor’s own work but the conclusions, including any analysis, must be the competitor’s own.
  • A video on an astronomical theme.

Examples of Senior submissions

  • An article on Mayan or Chinese astronomy.
  • An article about the Cassini mission to Saturn.
  • An informative video explaining an observing technique or the use of specialised equipment.
  • An analysis of the timing of satellite transits across the disk of Jupiter to determine an approximation for the speed of light.
  • An analysis of sequences of sunspot images sourced from the internet to determine the solar rotation rate at different solar latitudes.
  • A collaborative project with geographically separated observers making an occultation timing of an asteroid and estimating the asteroid’s orbital speed.
  • An article interpreting the spectrum of a comet (possibly taken by the competitor) to describe the molecules present.

The examples given above for the Junior and Senior age categories are just that: examples (not specifications or requirements). They imply any preferred topics, nor do they imply the level of technicality involved in a successful submission.

A PDF copy of this document is available here