Williamina Fleming Imaging Award


The Williamina Fleming Imaging Award is an annual program of the Astronomical League and was created in 2021 to complement the League’s 75th Anniversary recognitions of key women in League history. The award recognizes the work of Scottish astronomer Williamina Paton Stevens Fleming who was active in the United States. During her career, she helped develop a common designation system for stars, cataloged thousands of stars and other astronomical objects, and discovered the Horsehead Nebula.


To be eligible for the award, an applicant must be (a) female, (b) at least 19 years of age, and (c) a member of the Astronomical League.

Images submitted by professional astrophotographers or using professional observatory facilities will not be accepted. The term “professional astrophotographers” shall mean persons whose astronomical imaging produces income exceeding $2,500 during the 12 months preceding the submission deadline.


Award submissions will be made by emailing the entry form (see attached) and image attachments to flemingaward@astroleague.org no later than April 30. If you do not receive a receipt for your submission within one week, contact the League Vice-President to ensure that your submission was received.


A maximum of three (3) still images in .jpeg format (color or black and white), totaling not more than 25 MB, may be submitted by an entrant each year (no videos or .gifs). All submissions must consist of images taken and processed by the individual. First-place winners will not be eligible to compete for the Fleming Award in the following two cycles.

A panel consisting of at least three judges with recognized skills in astrophotography will evaluate submissions. Each Fleming Award winner will be invited to participate as a judge in the two award cycles that follow her receipt of the Award.

Zipf’s Law will be used to combine the judges’ results, with a judge’s first-place ranking receiving 1 point, a second-place ranking receiving 1/2 point, a third-place ranking receiving 1/3 point, and so on. This method is suggested by Dr. J. Richard Gott of Princeton, former Westinghouse Science Talent Search Chief of Judges, as the fairest mathematical way to add the values of judges’ rankings. (It is based on the idea that achieving a first-place rank is three times harder than achieving a third-place rank, and ten times harder than achieving a tenth-place rank, etc.)  All judges’ decisions are final.

Awards are given in four categories of astronomical imaging: (a) wide field and atmospheric phenomena (0-200 mm), (b) rich field (201-500 mm), (c) solar system (>500 mm), and (d) deep sky (>500 mm).


First-place, second-place, and third-place plaques will be awarded at the League’s national convention each year or mailed to recipients not in attendance. Cash and/or non-cash prizes will be awarded as sponsorship of the award allows.

As with other League awards, the League Vice-President will coordinate this award program. All questions regarding the award should be directed to the Vice-President. Contact information appears in each issue of Reflector. The Vice-President may recruit assistance in the administration of the award.

Publication Rights

By entering this award contest, contestants agree to grant permission to the Astronomical League the right to post first through third place award-winning images, with proper credit to the contestants, in the League’s quarterly magazine, Reflector, on League Websites, in League online newsletters, on League social networking sites, and in award promotional materials issued by the League. Images remain the property of the contestants.

Entry Form

The entry form for the Williamina Fleming Imaging Award can be found here:

Williamina Fleming Imaging Award Entry Form (PDF format).

Scroll to top