Daniel Borcard’s clear image of the Saturn-Jupiter conjunction, pictured December 18, 2020, won our Photo of the Week contest on January 1, 2021.
Borcard captured the conjunction from his backyard observatory in Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan, Québec, on December 18, 2020.
Using a TEC140 ED F/7 APO refractor, he shot the image background with the gas giants’ moons with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III at ISO 200 and Tele Vue Big Barlow 2x, collecting four images each with 10-second and 20-second exposures.
To capture the planetary disks, he used a ZWO ASI224MC camera, Tele Vue PowerMate 2.5x and an atmospheric dispersion corrector, capturing a separate image for each planet.
“The planetary disks have then been digitally added into the large image to improve the details on the planets,” he wrote.
“Borcard’s Jupiter-Saturn conjunction has some very nice detail, especially on Jupiter when zoomed in,” wrote one of our judges.
This week, our judges wanted to highlight an oldie but a goodie — Ron Brecher’s image of NGC 7789, shown along with variable star WY Cas, the blinking star in this image.
“NGC 7789 is one of several objects discovered by Carolyn Herschel, and is sometimes called the White Rose Cluster or Carolyn’s Rose Cluster,” Brecher writes on his website. “It is about 8,000 light years away, and in our home galaxy, the Milky Way. It is an old open cluster, at 1.6 billion years.”
Brecher said that from November 2003 to August 2012, the WY Cas’ brightness varied by more than 100 times, from a minimum of magnitude 14.8 to as bright as magnitude 9.2.
“This image shows the star near its brightest on October 9, 2011, and looking much dimmer on August 16, 2012,” he wrote.
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!