Capturing noctilucent clouds above and fireflies below, Justin Anderson won our Photo of the Week competition June 25, 2021, with a stacked landscape image.
Shooting from Forrest, Manitoba, 23-year-old Anderson captured this image at 11:35 p.m. on June 14, 2021. He said the night of this capture was the best noctilucent cloud show he had seen so far this year, and the fireflies came out, as well.
“I am so incredibly happy with the final image,” he said. “Due to shooting such short exposures I had over 1,000 photos to go through … The final image came out with nearly 100 fireflies and perhaps the best photo I have ever taken in my life (so far).”
Using his Canon 6Da (astro modified for Hydrogen) sporting a Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens, Anderson said he caught just one two-second exposure of the sky at ISO 800, f/3.5 and 50mm. For the foreground, he caught eight 20-second exposures at f/3.5 and 50mm. To capture the fireflies, he caught 950 two-second exposures at ISO 800, f/3.5 and 50mm.
Anderson added that he will be taking more images from this location in the future, too.
“The best part is this pond is 10 minutes from my new house, I will be back to this location, for sure,” he said.
Our runner up this week was Andrea Girones with this sparkling image of the Iris Nebula.
Also known as NGC 7023, the Iris Nebula 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 June 12, 2021, from Ottawa, Ontario, Girones used a Celestron C11 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with a Hyperstar reducer (540 mm, f/1.9). Her camera of choice was a ZWO ASI533MC Pro, with a Baader UV/IR cut filter. She captured 38 180-second lights, as well as darks, flats and dark flats. The camera was cooled to -10C, with a gain of 101. Acquisition was done with the ASIAIR, which the image was calibrated and processed in PixInsight and finished in Photoshop.
Girones said she first collected data for an image of the Fireworks Galaxy (NGC 6946) in Cepheus, then turned to the neighbouring Iris Nebula.
“Since the June night are so short (only 3.5 hours of complete darkness), she knew it was going to be very close to image two targets in one night,” she said.
Keep your eyes on the skies — and on the prize! In the coming months, we’ll be announcing the sponsors for the 2021-22 SkyNews Photo of the Week contest. In the meantime, you can submit your astrophotography here!