Chris Parfett’s close-up of the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula with clarity and nice colour balance is the SkyNews Photo of the Week winner for July 30, 2021.
Located in Cepheus, the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula and the encompassing IC 1396 region is a rather complex area of space. The narrow, dark nebula lit around its edges — the one that twists toward the centre and gives the Elephant’s Trunk its name — is officially designated IC 1396A and is also known as vdB 142.
Parfett said this project started at the end of May and finished up at the start of July.
“Short nights and lots of clouds dragged this on for longer than I wanted it to go,” he wrote.
Parfett said he used a ZWO ASI294MM camera and a William Optics GT 102 telescope (f/6.9) to capture 13 hours and 45 minutes of data from his front yard in Bittern Lake, Alberta.
Our honourable mention this week goes to Jason Dain, who captured the same object along with a a wider swath of the sky, including the Flying Bat and Squid nebulae.
Sh2-129, the Flying Bat Nebula, is a relatively faint emission nebula in Cepheus, a neighbour of the larger and more often imaged Elephant’s Trunk Nebula. The planetary nebula Ou4 — or the Squid Nebula — was only discovered by amateur astronomer Nicolas Outters in June 2011.
Dain wrote that he recently disassembled his Esprit 100 telescope to set up my Samyang 135 f/2 lens for some ultra-wide deep sky imaging.
“With my Esprit 100 and ASI2600MC pro, I am usually going at fairly large targets but I wanted to try to get some larger regions of space without having to do mosaics,” he wrote. “For comparison, this ultra-wide field is nine degrees wide compared to my usual two-degree field of view. The view below is about 15 full moons wide after cropping.”
Dain wrote that he used a ZWO ASI2600MC Pro and a Samyang 135mm (f/2) to capture the 18 hours of data from Stillwater Lake, Nova Scotia, in July 2021.
Prizes for the 2021-22 SkyNews Photo of the Week contest are sponsored by Sky-Watcher, Celestron, iOptron, The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and SkyNews. Find more here on the amazing telescopes, prize packages and gift vouchers awarded to the best photos this year.