You did last month’s Messier 8 project, and now you’re ready for something more colourful. This month, we’re happy to share with you eight hours of gorgeous data focused on Messier 20, the Trifid Nebula.
Messier 20 is a star-forming nebula located 9,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius. In 1764, Charles Messier discovered the nebula, which has an apparent magnitude of 6.3 and can be spotted with a small telescope.
In the centre of the nebula’s pink region, there is a group of bright new large stars releasing a flood of ultraviolet radiation influencing the structure and evolution of the surrounding nebula. NASA stated in 2017 that star formation is no longer occurring in the immediate vicinity of this group of bright stars, because their intense radiation has blown away the gas and dust from which new stars are made.
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.
To be eligible, submissions must be received by October 31, 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 email@example.com. 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 was released on October 1, 2021. You have until October 31, 2021 to download it, edit it and enter the edited image in our contest.
*Note: We updated the Level 2 – Intermediate package to include lights rather than flats on October 7, 2021.
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.