Stuart Heggie produced this example image of NGC 7331 using the RASC Robotic Telescope data provided in this contest. | SkyNews
Stuart Heggie produced this example image of NGC 7331 using the RASC Robotic Telescope data provided in this contest.

SkyNews image editing contest: November 2021

This month, SkyNews has gone intergalactic. Our focus? NGC 7331 and its neighbours.

We’ve looked at colourful nebulae and stellar nurseries, and this month, SkyNews has gone intergalactic. Our focus? NGC 7331 and its neighbours.

Stuart Heggie produced this example image of NGC 7331 using the RASC Robotic Telescope data provided in this contest. | SkyNews
Stuart Heggie produced this example image of NGC 7331 using the RASC Robotic Telescope data provided in this contest.

NGC 7331, also known as Caldwell 30, is an unbarred spiral galaxy about 45 million light-years away. NASA calls the galaxy a “near-twin” of the Milky Way, with a similar size, shape, and mass and a supermassive black hole at its core. There are four other galaxies above NGC 7331 in this image, and together they form the Deer Lick Group. These galaxies — NGC 7335, 7336, 7337 and 7340 — are known as the “fleas.”

The RASC Robotic Telescope team collected eight hours of luminance, red, blue and green data for this image.

As a bonus, the RASC Robotic Telescope team also collected DSLR data, imaging a wide-field shot of NGC 7331 with Stephan’s Quintet, a gorgeous nearby grouping of five galaxies. It’s not to be used in the contest, but we wanted to make this data available to you, as well.

The telescope

Located near Auberry, California, The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Robotic Telescope is a 16-inch, f/8.9 RCOS with a SBIG STX-16803 camera on a Paramount ME mount. It has seven filters: LRGB, Hydrogen-alpha, Oxygen III and Sulphur II. A Canon 6D — used to capture larger targets — is piggy-backed on the scope, sporting a 200mm f/2.8 lens.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of our Photo of the Week contest, SkyNews is buying time on the telescope, using it to gather amazing data and sharing it with our readers for free.

Each month, we are releasing data packages for one deep-sky object. Process the data, send it back to us and you’ll be entered into our astrophoto editing contest for the month. Our judges will choose the image that wins a SkyNews prize pack, including access to RASC Robotic Telescope data for the year.

The rules

To be eligible, submissions must be received by November 30, 2021. One entry per person. A team of judges will choose the best submission and SkyNews will publish the winning image.

To enter, you can fill out the entry form on the SkyNews website, or you can send your image by e-mail to photo+edit@skynews.ca. Be sure to include your name, contact information and the processing details.

There are no entry fees. This contest is open to residents of Canada only.

The data

The data was released on November 2, 2021. You have until November 30, 2021 to download it, edit it and enter the edited image in our contest.

The prize

The prize for the winner of the astroimage editing contest. | SkyNews
SkyNews prize pack

Each month, SkyNews will be giving the winner a prize package that includes: access to RASC Robotic Telescope data for the year, as well as some essential stargazing tools — a one-year gift subscription to SkyNews (to use or to give to a friend), a SkyNews folding chair, a SkyNews backpack and a SkyNews red light keychain.

The value of the prize pack is about $200.

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