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IAU100 Short Story Competition for Students


We are pleased to invite you to be part of the IAU100 written contest “Under One Sky” for astronomy students worldwide.

In 2019, the International Astronomical Union (IAU)  is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a year-long celebration to increase awareness of a century of astronomical discoveries as well as to support and improve the use of astronomy as a tool for education, development and diplomacy.

The IAU values the engagement of young scientists in its activities. This competition is aimed at stimulating your creativity and imagination, by soliciting short written stories related to the themes Under One Sky and Inspiring Stars.

Contestants can be students from anywhere in the world of the following programs:

  • Bachelor students of any field

  • Masters students in Astronomy

  • PhD students in Astronomy

Participants will get a chance to attend the IAU100 Flagship event in Brussels, Belgium. The IAU100 Under One Sky Event will take place at the Palace of the Academies in Brussels (Belgium) on 11-12 April 2019. The event will feature dedicated sessions with high-level representatives and prominent astronomers, with a focus on astronomy for diplomacy and peace, development, education, outreach, arts, and its involvement with the high-tech industry.


Eligibility criteria

  • All types of stories can be presented: personal stories, short sci-fi tales, fables, anecdotes, essays, short dialogues, etc., —provided that they are developed within the two categories:

    1. Under One Sky: this category comprises stories showing the potential of astronomy to bring people together.

    2. Inspiring Stars: this category comprises stories showing the important role that astronomy could play for inclusion, equity and diversity.

  • Stories must be original (own authorship), unpublished and must contain a maximum of 150 words (not including the title).

  • Stories must be submitted in English.

  • The text should be proofread; misspelt stories will not be accepted.

  • Each contestant can submit a maximum of 1 Story to the competition.

  • All participants need to be enrolled in an academic program (Phd, Masters or Bachelor).

  • All participants must be 18 years-old or older by 1 January 2019.


Evaluation criteria

  • The submissions will be evaluated by the IAU100 Task Force.

  • The jury will value the originality of the pieces.

  • Results of the competition will be considered final.


Submission process

  • Deadline:

All stories must be submitted to the competition by no later than Tuesday, 15 January 2019, at 11:59 p.m. (CET).

  • The stories must be submitted using this form.

  • Each submission has to include:

    • Personal Information: name, country

    • Title of the story.

    • Text (150 words max)

    • 1 image with corresponding caption and credit.

  • When the submission process is closed you will receive and email confirming your submission.

Awards and recognition

The results will be announced in mid February 2019 and communicated to the winners.

For each category:

  • 1st Place: Travel covered to Brussels and Hotel for 1 person for 3 nights, to participate in the International Astronomical Union 1919-2019: 100 Years Under One Sky flagship meeting and read the story during the ceremony on April 11 2019;

  • 2nd Place: Registration fee and partial support to attend 1 IAU Symposium in 2019 or 2020 (up to 500 Euros);

  • 3rd Place: Telescope Celestron Firstcope (

All participants that will be on the top-5 short-list for each category will receive a certificate and will be invited to attend the Brussels meeting (at own costs).


Publication rights and copyright

  • Contestant must be the creator of the stories and own all rights to the story.

  • By submitting a story to the competition, contestants agree that IAU100 is not responsible for any infringements of copyright that could arise or for any litigation that may ensue from these infringements.

  • IAU100 reserves the right to publish the competition's pre-selected stories and awarded competitors in any media and in any format, to promote the competition, finalists, winners and awards.

  • IAU100 agrees to acknowledge the stories creator in all publications and presentations of it.

Contestant agreement

  • By submitting a story to the competition, contestants agree to respect the competition's official rules.

  • All decisions of competition organizers about any aspect of the competition, including eligibility or disqualification of applications forms, comments or images are final and cannot be appealed.

  • By sending his/her Stories, contestants consent to the use, reproduction, publication, transmission and dissemination of the image, their name, and information relating to the award by the competition organizers and/or partners, without compensation, in any publications or promotional material, to promote the competition, finalists, winners or awards.

  • Travel to Brussels of the winner will be arranged by the IAU100 office according to the IAU travel rules.

Changes to or cancellation of the competition

  • IAU100 reserves the right to make changes to the competition at any time without prior notice, to temporarily interrupt the competition, or to cancel the competition without justifying or being in any way accountable for this decision. No damages or compensation may be claimed.


For more information

For any questions and comments send an email to the IAU100 Communications Officer Bethany Downer at

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