AboutGriffith Observer MagazineAnnual Writing Contest

Twelfth Annual Joan and Arnold Seidel Griffith Observer Science Writing Contest

In the interest of stimulating the flow of information between scientists, science writers, and the public, Griffith Observatory conducts an annual writing contest for creative articles in astronomy, astrophysics, and space science. The top submissions are awarded prizes and published in the Griffith Observer magazine. For the eleventh year, the contest is generously sponsored by Joan and Arnold Seidel.

The contest is usually announced in September, with entries accepted through December 31. Winning articles are selected in March, authors are notified in April, and the results are announced in June.


Length/Format: Articles must be 3500-5000 words in length, typewritten, in English, double-spaced, and accompanied by a brief biographical sketch of the author. Text should be in Microsoft Word “doc” format, with normal paragraphing format (indent first sentence, don’t skip a line between paragraphs).

Images: Images must not be embedded in the Word document. At least two (2), camera-ready illustrations must be included. Images must be in TIFF or JPG format at sufficient resolution. Print resolution is 300 pixels per inch, and an image intended to be printed at four inches should be at least 1200 pixels wide. Brief descriptions and credit lines for each illustration are necessary.

Permissions: Permissions, if necessary, must be supplied.

Cover Page: The author’s name should appear only on a cover sheet and not on the pages of the article itself.

Participation Rules

Deadline: All articles must be postmarked by December 31, 2023.

Eligibility:  The contest is open to all interested persons (Griffith Observatory employees excepted). Any number of articles may be submitted to the contest by one person, but only one prize will be awarded to a winning author.

Copyright: All winning articles become property of Griffith Observatory. The winning articles will be published in the Griffith Observer.

No Resubmission: Previously published articles will not be accepted.

Judging: Article submissions will be judged by Griffith Observatory staff, and the decision of the judges is final. Each entry is judged anonymously so that the author’s identity is unknown to all of the judges.

How to Submit an Entry

Electronic mail submissions with the subject line “Seidel Griffith Observer Science Writing Contest Submission” are preferred. Postal mail submissions are also accepted, but a disk containing the articles and images must be provided. Address all articles to:

Awards Committee
c/o Griffith Observatory
2800 East Observatory Road
Los Angeles, California 90027


Criteria: Awards are made on the basis of clear and interesting style, accuracy, reader interest in the subject, correct grammar and syntax, originality in presentation and content, and neatness. Failure to meet the requirements on length, appearance, and illustrations may disqualify an entry from consideration. The judges will be looking for articles which best communicate to the average reader, material of current or historical interest in astronomy, astrophysics, and space science.

Award Date: Awards will be made on March 15, 2024.

Award Amounts: The cash amounts of the awards are:

First Prize $1000.00
Second Prize $350.00
Third Prize $200.00
Fourth Prize $150.00
Honorable Mention $50.00