The Pleiades. The Seven Sisters. Messier 45. Pakone Kisik, the hole in the sky. Las siete cabrillas.
It goes by different names, but Ron Brecher called it the “winter jewel” when he submitted the image that won our Photo of the Week May 8.
One of the judges noted that Brecher’s image “has a certain look or texture to the image that I find very appealing.”
“I tried to bring out the surrounding dust clouds, as well as the detail in the reflection nebula,” Brecher wrote.
“Although the star cluster and reflection nebula are the dominant objects in this shot, there are also hundreds of galaxies lying far in the background,” he added.
Brecher said he used a Takahashi FSQ-106 ED IV at f/3.6, a QHY367C one-shot colour camera, an Optolong L-Pro filter and an unguided Paramount MX. Acquisition and focusing was done with TheSkyX. He used an Optec DirectSync motor and controller for focus and a CCDCommander for automation. Equipment control was done with PrimaLuce Labs Eagle 3 Pro computer, and all pre-processing and processing was done in PixInsight.
“Acquired from my SkyShed in Guelph,” he wrote. “Half-moon, average transparency and poor seeing. Data acquired January 21-February 21, 2020.”
More details about the image are available on his website here.
The honourable mention this week goes to Pierre Tremblay for his image of the Triangulum Galaxy.
One judge said he really liked the image, noting the “impressive detail and depth and tastefully presented.”
Tremblay said he acquired data October 21, November 29-30 and December 1, 2019 from his observatory in Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire, in a Class 3 sky on the Bortle scale.
He said he used a Takahashi FS-102 (845 mm) F8 with Takahashi flattener 1.04X and robofocus. His camera was a Qs-583 WSG and Meade DSI Pro as a guide camera. For filters, he used Astrodon E-series first generation colour filters and an Astrodon h-alpha 5nm filter. The mount was a Losmandy G-11 Gemini 1 level 4, with Ovision gear upgrade.
Tremblay said the image was processed with MaximDL, ImagesPlus, Registar and Photoshop.
As for exposures, he took 6 at 350 seconds, binned 2 for red; 6 at 300 seconds, binned two each for green and for blue; and 5 at 1200 seconds for luminance — an LLRGB composite.