Iris Nebula by Stuart Heggie

Iris Nebula by Stuart Heggie

With a clear stars and a well-executed shot, Stuart Heggie’s Iris Nebula won Photo of the Week June 12, 2020.

With dozens of entries, the week of June 12, 2020 was not an easy one to evaluate.

But with the judges’ appreciation of the clarity of the stars and how the dust was brought out, Stuart Heggie’s Iris Nebula won Photo of the Week.

NGC 7023 is a bright reflection nebula in the constellation Cepheus, with an open cluster within. At 1,300 light-years away and six light-years across, the nebula hugs a hot, young star.

Shooting May 28, 2020, from Lucknow, Ontario, Heggie said he acquired the data for the image with a Moravian Instruments G4 with an Astrodon Gen II LRGB filter set. He said he used a AP155EDF lens and an Astro-Physics AP155EDF with a 4″ FF. As for a mount, he used a Paramount MX guided piggyback by an ST-402 and Borg 60mm achromat.

He said the exposure time totalled five hours: each exposure was 10 minutes, with six, nine, six and nine in LRGB, respectively.

He said he acquired the data with TheSkyX, did calibration and initial processing in PixInsight, and combined the RGB in PixInsight. Luminance was combined with Colour in PS CC 2020.

The honourable mention this week goes to W. John McDonald for his image composition of the changing crescent of Venus, as it moved toward Inferior conjunction on June 3, 2020.

Images of Venus at crescent, taken over a 38-day period.

McDonald said the images of Venus at crescent were taken over a 38-day period. The compiled image shows the thinning and increasing size as the planet moves toward inferior conjunction, when it is closest to Earth.

He said the images were taken from April 18 to May 25, 2020 from Ross Place in Victoria, British Columbia.

He also said he used a ZWO ASI120MM-s camera with 2.5x Barlow on Williams Optics 105mm, for an effective focal length of 1785mm. 

“Red and IR filters were used for images taken at lower elevations,” he wrote, noting the best 15 to 20 per cent of 1,000 to 2,000 video frames taken at over 100 frames per second (fps) using SharpCap and processed in Astrostakkert, ACR and Photoshop.