After some humming and hawing and a good debate, the winner of the December 20, 2019 Photo of the Week was Ron Brecher with his wide field image of Auriga.
Brecher said he has never shot the constellation in such a wide field format before, nor with a one-shot colour camera.
“I definitely achieved what I was aiming for here,” he wrote in an email. “This wide-field image shows the extended clouds of nebulosity in Auriga, the Charioteer, along with several open clusters. There are even some galaxies hiding in this busy field. “
Brecher also included an annotated image for more information.
As for the specs of the image, Brecher said he used a Takahashi FSQ-106 ED IV at f/3.6, QHY367C one-shot colour camera, and Optolong L-eNhance narrowband filter, Paramount MX, unguided.
“Acquisition, and focusing with TheSkyX,” he wrote. “Focus with Optec DirectSync focus motor and controller. Automation with CCDCommander. Equipment control with PrimaLuce Labs Eagle 3 Pro computer. All pre-processing and processing in PixInsight. Acquired from my SkyShed in Guelph. Variable moon, average to above average transparency and fair to average seeing. Data acquired October 28 – November 20, 2019.”
He also provided substantial detailing in his own web post on data reduction and cleanup, colour and lightness, and processing.
The photo was by far the most clear, crisp, complex and certainly well-documented of all the pictures submitted over the past week.
That said, we judges did not all agree the winner was as clear. A contender — and a photo we mention honourably — was Raphaël Dubuc’s image of the Andromeda Galaxy and M31.
One of the judges liked the composition — it is a pretty picture! — though it was noted by another that the colours are a bit overdone and there is some star trailing or rotation.
That said, the photo sparked a good debate among the judges about the merits of aesthetics and technical excellence. “Sometimes it’s the kid with a string on a stick that catches a better fish than the complete angler,” one judge said.