Amateur astronomers' images of celestial objects enhance the content and appearance of articles throughout Sky & Telescope magazine. In addition, each monthly issue's Gallery department showcases amateurs' finest astrophotos. We publish astronomical images taken by amateurs regardless of age, gender, nationality, level of experience, or equipment used — and whether or not they subscribe to the magazine.
This page answers frequently asked questions (FAQs) from amateurs interested in submitting astronomical images to Sky & Telescope magazine. For information on submitting images to our online gallery, please see this FAQ page.
- What kinds of images does the magazine look for?
- How do I submit my images?
- What information should I include with my submission?
- Where should I send my pictures?
- How will I know if my images have been received?
- Will Sky Publishing pay me for my picture(s)?
- What else do I get for the use of my images?
- Do I retain the copyright to my published images?
- What if I change my mind and decide to withdraw my submission?
- Does Sky & Telescope play favorites, or are you open to all contributors?
- I was told you plan to use one of my pictures. When?
- Will Sky & Telescope compensate me for holding on to my images?
What kinds of images does the magazine look for?
Astronomical images submitted to Sky Publishing should be inherently interesting and aesthetically appealing, but need not be of a scientific nature. Typical S&T subjects include the Sun, Moon, planets, constellations, deep-sky objects (star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies), eclipses, conjunctions, meteors, occultations, rainbows, halos, auroras, and landscapes including one or more celestial objects. In addition to our Gallery showcase, we use amateur images on the magazine's cover, as illustrations for articles, our Web site, in books, and in other products. Astronomical sketches (drawings at the eyepiece) are welcomed too.
Images depicting people, observatories, equipment will not be considered unless they are submitted as part of a proposal for an article to which they are relevant. This applies to paintings, drawings, and other artwork too.
Ultimately, the decision to use a particular image will depend greatly on the quality of your picture and how it fits in with our schedule of upcoming articles and compares with materials already in our files. Prospective contributors should review several recent issues of the magazine to determine our photographic style and preferences.
As a matter of editorial policy, Sky & Telescope does not and will not knowingly publish images that are fraudulent or misleading. Composites and photo-illustrations are always described as such.
How do I submit my images?
To the magazine directly:
When submitting photographs, send only digital files via email.
When we ask for publication-quality images, please send us your full-resolution files, preferably in TIFF format, though PNG and low-compression JPG files are acceptable also. You may send high-resolution files via e-mail, an online file transfer service, on portable media such as flash drives, DVD or CD-ROM.
Images of transient events such as eclipses, meteor showers, occultations, or conjunctions should be submitted at the earliest possible time, as we often try to cover such events in the issue then already in production. Images may be in color or black and white.
Don't send multiple images that are virtually the same — please edit your selection and limit what you send us to "the best of the best" for consideration.
If we choose your image for publication, we will contact you seeking additional information, permissions, and will send you a permissions form to fill out and return.
You can also submit your images to our online gallery, and check off the "Check this box if you would like us to consider your image for print in the Sky & Telescope magazine" box on the form. Note that the online submission has different image restrictions – see below – but if your image is selected, a staff member will contact you for a higher res version.
To the online gallery:
Please submit your images through our image submission form. Images submitted online will appear immediately in our gallery, as will any information submitted with the image. Changes can only be made by emailing us.
If you would like your image to be considered for use in the magazine, check the box that says "Check this box if you would like us to consider your image for print in the Sky & Telescope magazine" at the end of the form.
Please note that when you submit images to our online gallery, you will need to use JPG, PNG, or GIF formats. If your image is selected to be used in the magazine, a staff member will contact you. At that point, you may send a larger image in TIFF format.
For more information, see the online gallery submission FAQ.
What information should I include with my submission?
Submissions by email or mail:
In the cover letter give your complete contact information (full name, mailing address, daytime and evening phone numbers, and e-mail address), as well as the details of your imaging setup, including the kind of telescope or lens, camera, ISO setting, F-stop, filters used, as well as exposure times and any special techniques involved — tricolor, mosaic, multiple exposure, video stacking).
Submissions by gallery submission form:
Please include as many details as you feel comfortable including. Note that all information submitted in the online form will show immediately with your image in the gallery. If your image is selected for use in the magazine, a staff member will contact you for more details.
Where should I send my pictures?
Sean Walker, Associate Editor
Sky & Telescope
1374 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
If you want to e-mail digital files to our Gallery department, send them to gallery (at) skyandtelescope.org.
How will I know if my images have been received?
Due to the volume of submissions we receive, we can only acknowledge images that have been chosen to be published in a pending issue. But if you send e-mail to gallery (at) SkyandTelscope.org, you will get an automatic response that your e-mail has been received.
Will Sky & Telescope pay me for my picture(s)?
Except for those featured in Gallery, amateur astro-images used in the magazine are paid for according to the size at which they are reproduced, unless they are commissioned along with the text of an article. A copy of our payment rates is available upon request. Payment is initiated upon publication of the picture(s).
What else do I get for the use of my images?
You will get credit for each picture in the caption or credit line, as well as two complimentary copies of the issue in which your picture appears.
Do I retain the copyright to my published images?
Yes, you retain full ownership of your images. Sky & Telescope will send you a release form, called a Publishing Agreement, which you must sign and return before we can publish your images. Basically, it's a legal contract that states you're the actual photographer of the image and that you're giving permission to Sky & Telescope for a one-time, non-exclusive use of your image in our print and electronic media.
We will notify you if we decide to use your image in some way other than you intended when you submitted it. The same goes if we wish to reuse it for a different article, department, or issue.
For information on how images submitted our gallery can be used, please see the online gallery submission FAQ page.
What if I change my mind and decide to withdraw my submission?
You should inform us in writing as soon as possible.
Does Sky & Telescope play favorites, or are you open to all contributors?
When we do our initial selection of images for a particular article, we don't pay attention to the names of the photographers — we base our choices solely on the merits of each image. This is especially true for our Gallery department. The reason you see certain photographers' names appearing repeatedly in our pages is that they submit images to us on a regular basis. Remember, we cannot publish your images unless you send them to us!
I was told you plan to use one of my pictures. When?
Usually within a few months, maybe more. Owing to the limited number of pages available in any given issue of the magazine, we cannot publish all the superb images that we receive. Even having your images accepted for serious consideration doesn't guarantee that they'll get published.
Will Sky & Telescope compensate me for holding on to my images?
No. We do not pay holding fees for images that have been put on file with a photographer's consent.
If you have any questions not answered by this guide, please contact us. Thanks for your interest in Sky & Telescope!
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Cambridge, MA 02138 U.S.A.