Martin Bernier’s sparkling closeup of the Orion Nebula has been named our Photo of the Week for December 11, 2020.
Also known as Messier 42, the Orion Nebula is a stellar nursery, a large cloud of gas and dust where stars are born. At about 1,300 light-years away, it’s the closest large star-forming region to Earth.
Shooting November 20, 2020, Bernier said he captured this image of the nebula in true colour on “a good night” at his place in Saint-Liboire, Québec.
Using a QSI 683WSG mono CCD camera, an Orion Optics CT16 telescope (f/4), Bernier captured light using LRGB filters: six 10-second exposures, six 30-second exposures, six 60-second exposures and six 300-seconds for each filter.
Our runner up this week is Irwin Seidman with his image of the Heart Nebula, also known as IC 1805.
Located roughly 7,500 light-years away, the Heart Nebula is an emission nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia.
“It glows brightly with ionized hydrogen gas making the dark dust lanes really stand out,” Seidman pointed out. “The bright region in the upper right portion of the nebula is separately classified as NGC 896. The nebula’s intense red output and its morphology are driven by the radiation emanating from a small group of stars near the nebula’s centre.
“This open cluster of stars, known as Collinder 26 or Melotte 15, contains a few bright stars nearly 50 times the mass of our Sun, and many more dim stars that are only a fraction of our Sun’s mass. Just to the upper left of the nebula lies the open cluster NGC 1027. Also seen in the image (albeit mostly cut off from view) is the neighbouring IC 1848 (the Soul Nebula).”
Seidman said he caught 85 minutes of exposures with a Nikon D750 and a William Optics Zenithstar 61 (f/5.9), shooting from Owen Sound, Ontario, on November 9, 2020.
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.