As this summer begins, our Photo of the Week winner for June 11, 2021 is a throwback to last year — an image of Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) over noctilucent clouds by John Andersen.
Comet NEOWISE was discovered in March 2020 during the during the NEOWISE mission of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope, looking for near-Earth objects (hence “NEO”).
Using a Canon 6D and a 135mm f/2 lens set to f/3.5, Anderson caught this five-second exposure from Bragg Creek, Alberta, on July 11, 2020.
“The first night when the skies cleared and Comet NEOWISE was above the horizon, it was imperative to capture this rare and magnificent visitor!” he wrote. “In hindsight, the comet’s brief appearance during July 2020 was the highlight of the night sky viewing year.”
This image of Messier 81 and Messier 82 by Andrew Lesser received our honourable mention this week.
Messier 81 (bottom), also known as Bode’s Galaxy, Johann Elert Bode discovered it and its companion, Messier 82 or the Cigar Galaxy (right), in 1774. Both are located about 12 million light-years away from Earth. The smaller galaxy top left corner is NGC 3077, which was discovered by William Herschel on November 8, 1801.
Lesser said he captured the image with a ZWO ASI2600MM Pro and a William Optics GT102 (focal length 711mm). Shooting from Calgary, Alberta, around April 30, 2021, he captured 17.13 hours of data.
“Of the many galaxies calling this region of Ursa Major home, the familiar Bode’s, Cigar and NGC 3077 galaxies take centre stage. Interstellar dust blankets the area and gives the entire background sky a magical and inviting glow.”
Keep your eyes on the skies — and on the prize! Prizes for the 2020-21 SkyNews Photo of the Week contest are sponsored by Sky-Watcher, Celestron, iOptron and The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Click here for more details on the prize packages that will be awarded to the best photos this year.