You can make out the cracks at the bottom of the 3.6-billion-year-old Gassendi crater. You can see details in the rays stretching 300 kilometres out from the Kepler crater. The shadows lingering on the terminator highlight intricacies like single rocks.
These intricate details in James Thompson’s epic mosaic of the Moon caught our judges’ eyes, winning Photo of the Week on November 20, 2020.
Using a ZWO ASI183MM Pro and a Mallincam VRC-10 (f/8), Thompson said he capture the image from Ottawa, Ontario.
Thompson said the picture is a mosaic made from 12 individual images, each a stack of the top 10 per cent of frames from a capture of 3,000. Each exposure was 11 milliseconds.
“Frames were aligned and stacked in Autostakkert!3, and sharpened using wavelets in RegiStax 6,” he wrote. “To capture the Moon high in the sky for this phase I had to get up at 4:30 a.m. Transparency was above average, and seeing was average. I used an Astronomik ProPlanet 642 filter to help reduce the seeing effects.”
“It’s a fantastic shot. The little picture doesn’t do it justice,” one judge noted.
“The detail is just magnificent,” said another. “I’m impressed.”
Our runner up this week was Dan Kusz’s gorgeous image of the Andromeda Galaxy.
“Messier 31, the Andromeda Galaxy, needs no introduction,” he wrote. “Probably the most commonly imaged galaxy out there, but more beautiful than any. Home of an estimated trillion stars, large blue star forming regions which give off so much energy causing the hydrogen gas clouds they were formed from to glow red.”
Kusz said he waited for two years to image this galaxy, waiting for the perfect combination of clear skies, no Moon and decent seeing from Bortle 4 skies in Vernon, British Columbia. The perfect moment came November 7-8, 2020.
“I dedicated one night to Ha and the following night to LRGB before the weather turned again,” he said. “I then spent a few days off and on processing over and over again to do this beautiful galaxy the justice it deserved. I wanted to emphasize four items from my processing and I am hoping I hit them. I wanted to emphasize overall galactic structure, new star formations (blue), red brilliant Ha regions, and dark dust structure.”
Kusz captured the galaxy with a ZWO ASI1600MM Pro and Sky-Watcher Esprit 80 400mm (f/5). He said the total integration time was 13.4 hours. He said gain was 139 and temperature of camera at -20C for all sub frames. Other capture details were:
- Antlia Ha 3.5nm 36mm: 43 exposures × 600 seconds
- Optolong B 36mm: 30 exposures × 120 seconds
- Optolong G 36mm: 34 exposures × 120 seconds
- Optolong L 36mm: 90 exposures × 120 seconds
- Optolong R 36mm: 32 exposures × 120 seconds
He processed the image in PixInsight and Adobe Photoshop.
Prizes for the 2020-21 SkyNews Photo of the Week contest are sponsored by Sky-Watcher, Celestron, iOptron and The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Click here for more details on the prize packages that will be awarded to the best photos this year.