Expectations are always high with this target, which means David Jenkins’ M16 Photo of the Week win should be considered high praise.
Anxious to test his new telescope and mount, David Jenkins selected M16 (otherwise known as NGC 6611 or The Eagle Nebula) as his next image. M16 is an open cluster of stars in the constellation Serpens.
“In retrospect, this ended up being more challenging than I had anticipated, as M16 is relatively low in the sky from our northern latitude,” wrote Jenkins. “Additionally, I had some tracking issues that I had to troubleshoot while capturing this target.”
In the end, Jenkins had 12 hours of clean data to stack into a final image. Judges described the photo as the best amateur M16 they have seen.
“The Hubble Space Telescope made this a very famous nebula with its ‘Pillars of Creation’ image, so expectations are always high with this target,” they said. “David has got great colour using the traditional Hubble pallet. The level of detail is really good, with the large aperture refractor doing its magic. The image is clean and detailed.”
Jenkins used a ZWO ASI2600MM Pro with a Sky-Watcher Esprit 150ED lens, an EQ8-Rh Pro, and Astronomik 6nm SHO filters. Exposure time was 12 hours using 300 second subs at Gain 100.
Oscar Echeverri gets an honourable mention for his Dark Shark Nebula (LDN1235) image — a dark nebula in the constellation Cepheus about 650 light-years away.
“It’s comprised of dark dust, which is faintly lit by the surrounding stars,” said Echeverri. He added that the small, yellowish spiral galaxy in the field is PGC67671, located about 58 million light-years away — “roughly 88,000 times farther away than the foreground nebula.”
The image was taken the night of September 29 and October 2, 2022, with an 80mm Sky-Watcher Equinox 80ED refractor at f/5, using an SBIG STC-7 mono camera. Total integration time was 12 hours and 24 minutes. Judges praised the image for its “terrific black point” and “stretching with good colour.”
“The luminosity and colour of the ‘dark’ portions of the nebula are well rendered. The contrast of the bright colourful stars is great, and the background is smooth and not black clipped,” they said.
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!
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.