Persistence and patience were the winning elements for the Photo of the Week on February 5, 2021. Gathering a whopping 21.7 hours of data over the course of three nights, two months apart, Dan Kusz captured the title with his image of IC 410.
“IC 410 contains two remarkable inhabitants of the cosmic pond of gas and dust above and left of centre — the tadpoles of IC 410,” Kusz wrote. “Partly obscured by foreground dust, the nebula itself surrounds NGC 1893, a young galactic cluster of stars. Formed in the interstellar cloud a mere four million years ago, the intensely hot, bright cluster stars energize the glowing gas. Composed of denser cooler gas and dust, the tadpoles are around 10 light-years long and are likely sites of ongoing star formation. Sculpted by winds and radiation from the cluster stars, their heads are outlined by bright ridges of ionized gas while their tails trail away from the cluster’s central region. IC 410 lies some 10,000 light-years away, toward the nebula-rich constellation Auriga.”
Kusz said he shot the image from Vernon, British Columbia, and data collection began in early November 2020, and he waited for clear skies to finally collect the remaining data.
“I went with a SHO colour palate to try and highlight more of the structure in the nebulae,” he said. “I changed from the standard landscape orientation to a portrait orientation as I felt this made the image more balanced and created more depth to the image. I spent a lot of time ensuring I rendered the ‘tadpoles’ to the best the data would let me, as these to me are the focus of the image.”
Kusz said that using a Sky-Watcher Esprit 120 840mm (f/7) and a ZWO ASI1600MM Pro, he captured:
- Hydrogen-alpha data on November 15/16, 2020, in 46 frames at 600 seconds each
- Oxygen III data on January 16, 2021, in 42 frames at 600 seconds each
- Sulphur II data on January 22, 2021, 42 frames at 600 seconds each
Our honourable mention this week also zoomed in on the tadpoles of IC 410.
Using a Sky-Watcher Esprit 100 ED APO (f/5.5) and a ZWO ASI2600MC Pro, Dain captured the image from Bayswater, Nova Scotia, on December 26, 2020.
“This image was captured from a dark-sky site,” he wrote. “I was hoping for more time on target, but unexpected clouds rolled in. I processed this using a HOO palette to avoid the red monochrome look that the duo band filters often get.”
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.