It’s easy enough to capture the Moon — but to capture its shadowy side along with the bright one is a bit more complicated. Mathew Despres did it well, and won our Photo of the Week title on December 17, 2022, for the efforts.
The Moon is one of the most recognizable celestial objects to observe and is the fifth-largest moon in our Solar System. Created by what is thought to be a collision between a Mars-sized body and Earth, the Moon is just over one-fourth (27 per cent) the size of Earth and has a diameter of about 3,475 kilometres.
The Moon’s surface is a rocky, crater-filled exterior that has been impacted by asteroids. Due to the Moon’s lack of weather, the craters on the Moon’s surface do not erode. The stark contrast created by craters near the terminator are visibly present in Despres’ image, a composite image intentionally taken and edited in Photoshop to highlight the contrast between the dark and light sides of the Moon.
Despres captured the image on April 30, 2020, from Miramichi, New Brunswick, using a Celestron 9.25 Edge HD and a Canon T7i.
This week’s honourable mention goes to Ian Barredo, who brings us an image of WR 134 from Regina, Saskatoon.
Captured in October 2021, Barredo used a ZWO ASI183MM camera along with a Sky-Watcher 120mm Esprit lens. He captured an impressive 46 hours of narrowband data in Hydrogen-alpha and Oxygen III.
Located 6,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Cygnus, WR 134 contains a Wolf-Rayet star, which is a massive star at an advanced stage of stellar evolution. Wolf-Rayet stars are quite rare due to their brief lifetimes, and are typically found to be 25 times larger than our Sun.
With Wolf-Rayet stars being at the end of their lifespans, they shed their outer envelopes in a powerful stellar wind which concludes with a supernova explosion. Those supernovas create elements and materials that will be used to create new stars.
Every week, SkyNews publishes the best image from among those sent in by readers from all across Canada. Whether you’re an expert or a beginner at night sky photography, we’re looking for your pictures! Enter today for your chance to win a Photo of the Week title and one of our annual prizes!