With incredibly clear contrast between bright and dark nebulosity, the Photo of the Week on January 29, 2021, goes to Kimberly Sibbald for her image of the Pacman Nebula.
Also known as NGC 281, the emission nebula holds the open star cluster IC 1590, and was first identified in 1883 by astronomer E.E. Barnard. Located in Cassiopeia, estimates published in 2014 put the object about 9,200 light-years away from Earth.
Sibbald captured the image with a SharpStar 140PH Triplet with a focal length of 910mm, a Mesu 200 MKII mount, a ZWOASI1600MM Pro camera and Antlia narrowband filters (Hydrogen-alpha, Oxygen III and Sulphur II). She processed the image in PixInsight and Photoshop.
She said she captured 15 hours of data:
- 19 frames at 1,200 seconds each in Hα (for a total of six hours and 20 minutes)
- 13 frames at 1,200 seconds each in OIII (for a total of four hours and 20 minutes)
- 13 frames at 1,200 seconds each in SII (for a total of four hours and 20 minutes)
Our runner-up this week was another image of a deep-sky object — the Orion Nebula, by Fiona Morris.
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 January 20, 2021, from River Philip, Nova Scotia, Morris used a ZWO ASI183MC Pro and a William Optics SpaceCat 51 (f/4.9) to capture 60 shots at 120 seconds each, for a total of two hours of data.
Morris said the Moon was 48-per-cent illuminated and gain was 111. She also said she used an infrared/ultra-violet cut filter and a Celestron Advanced VX mount. For editing, she used AstroPixelProcessor, Adobe Photoshop and ASI Studio.
Keep your eyes on the skies — and on the prize! 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.