With excellent overall detail and processing, Stephan Hamel’s bright and vibrant image of the Lagoon Nebula won our Photo of the Week title on August 13, 2021.
Messier 8, the Lagoon Nebula, is located about 5,200 light-years from Earth. It houses the star cluster NGC 6530, the massive stars of which give off enormous amounts of ultraviolet radiation, ionizing the gas and causing it to shine. The Lagoon Nebula, found in Sagittarius, has an apparent magnitude of 6 and is about 90 arcminutes wide.
“The beautiful Lagoon Nebula in all three narrowband filters,” Hamel wrote. “Exposing with all three filters reveals beautiful structures inside the blue lagoon and along the shores. A red flower-like structure reveals itself in the middle of the lagoon. It is a delight to explore all the details.”
Hamel used an Explore Scientific 127mm (f/6) telescope and a ZWO ASI1600MM to capture the data. He collected 180-second exposures for a total of four hours of data near Hanwell, New Brunswick.
“[The image data was] taken over two different nights at a remote location which gives me access to an open southern sky,” he wrote.
Our honourable mention goes to Dave Dev this week for his image of the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula.
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. A hot triplet star system, HD 206267A — itself a part of the larger system HD 206267 system — is located within IC 1396.
Using a SharpStar 94mm apochromatic telescope (f/4.5) and a ZWO ASI 2600 mono camera, Dev captured about eight hours of narrowband data from his backyard in Woodbridge, Ontario, at the end of July.
“About two to three hours of each filter, presented as SHO palette,” he wrote. “Interesting project, because I combined data from two different rigs to come up with this final integration.”
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 out more about the amazing telescopes, prize packages and gift vouchers awarded to the best photos this year.